Cora and Carl followed Dad up the grassy hill. Dad held a long black tube with three legs. It was a telescope.
"What does the telescope do, Dad?" asked Cora.
"It helps you to see things better that are far away," said Dad. "We will use it to look at the stars and planets."
"I want to see the moon," said Carl.
"You cannot do that tonight," said Dad.
"Why not?" asked Carl. "The moon is easy to find."
"It will not be easy tonight," said Dad. "It is a new moon night. The moon is in shadow; it is between us and the sun."
"Why do they call it a new moon?" asked Cora.
"Many cultures start each month right after a new moon. They do not follow the calendar like we do. As soon as they could see the sliver of the moon, it was a new month. New moon, new moonth, new month, get it? Month comes from the word moon." Dad stopped and looked around. "This looks like a good place," he said.
Cora and Carl helped adjust the legs on the telescope. As soon as it was level, Dad aimed the tube at the stars. Then he began to focus it so they could see things clearly. He let Cora look in it first.
"What is that, Dad?" she asked. "It looks all reddish-orange."
"That is the planet Mars," said Dad. "It was named after the Roman god of war because of its red color."