- " Doc took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the view through the telescope as Clara continued her explanation. / 'And the crater in the middle northwest,' she said brightly, 'that's the one that's sort of like a starburst—' Yes. Doc saw it now. '—that's called Copernicus.' / She stopped talking, and Doc looked away from the eyepiece. Even in the darkness, he could tell she was blushing. / 'Oh, I'm embarrassed,' she said with the sweetest smile. 'I feel like I'm teaching school.' / 'No, please,' Doc encouraged, 'continue the lesson. I've never found lunar geography so fascinating.' Or a woman so fascinating, he thought but didn't say aloud. 'You're very knowledgeable,' he said instead. / Clara tilted her head in that charming way she had, her wonderful smile on her face for good. 'When I was eleven years old,' she explained, I had diphtheria and I was quarantined for three months. So my father put this telescope by my bed so I could see everything out the window. At night I used to stare at the moon. I'd make drawings of it — I even made up my own names for everything. Of course, later I found out all the craters and seas already had names.' / What a marvelous story! 'And what did you call Copernicus?' Doc asked. / 'Little Sunshine,' Clara admitted, looking like she might blush all over again. / Doc looked back through the eyepiece of the telescope again. What an appropriate name! / 'Yes,' he said, 'it does look like a little sun.' "
- —From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 134 and 135)
The Moon was a natural satellite of Earth.
When Clara Clayton was quarantined for three months as an eleven-year-old due to diphtheria, she used the telescope her father, Daniel Clayton, gave her to look up at the Moon at night and would also make drawings of it, as well as making up her own names for the craters and seas — which she didn't realize at the time already had names.
While Emmett Brown was looking at the Moon and the stars with Clara on September 5, 1885, using her telescope, she asked him if one day people would be able to travel to the Moon. Doc confirmed that this would indeed be the case, telling Clara that in another eighty-four years, humans would be propelled into outer space and to the Moon by the use of space vehicles. As Doc attempted to describe this in 19th century terms so Clara could understand, he was surprised when she completed his sentence — having recognized Doc's words as a reference to Jules Verne's 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon.
Behind the scenes
- On page 134 of the novelization (see Quote above), a misprint resulted in the line Clara tilted her head in that charming way she had reading the grammatically incorrect 'in that charming ways she had' instead. This error has been corrected here.
- The Moon is referred to with a capital letter on Wikipedia, as opposed to the lower-case 'm' used in the novelization (see Quote above). The style used by Wikipedia has therefore been adopted here.