"Ich sehe den Mond."
Translation:I see the moon.
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At least in US/UK English which is the basis for Duolingo, we don't usually use "see" in its basic sense (see something with your eyes) in continuous tenses such as "am seeing". It's a stative verb.
Similarly with other verbs such as "think, believe, hope, love; have; hear" as well as "feel, taste" when describing (involuntary) perception.
Continuous tenses are possible in extended meanings of those verbs, e.g. "I have cherries" (they are in my possession) / "I am having cherries" (I am eating them) or "I see Paul" (with my eyes) / "I am seeing Paul" (I regularly meet him, I go out with him or date him).
"I gaze at the moon" was disallowed.
That's not a translation of Ich sehe den Mond; it doesn't convey the same idea.
Gazing at or looking at something is a more active thing than just seeing the object.
Does Duolingo require that every expression be stated in its most basic (or least interesting) form in order to be judged as correct?
Duolingo doesn't actually understand English or German. It can only compare answers against a list of accepted translations that some poor human typed in one by one.
Those lists will generally only contain the more obvious translations.
So in general, it's not a good idea to get adventurous. Use a basic form to show that you've understood the sentence, not a "more interesting" form to show off the breadth of your vocabulary.
I have no interest in "showing off my (personal) vocabulary." However, the vocabulary of the English language is exceptionally vast and IMO tends to have MANY more ways to express an idea than other Western languages. My thought on "I see the moon" was, Why limit ourselves to the most basic, boring translations possible. Now I know. Thanks for your answer.