Observatory event to celebrate moon landing
The John J. McCarthy Observatory in New Milford will hold a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing Saturday.
The all-volunteer observatory, located behind New Milford High School on Route 7 South, will be open from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the module Eagle on the moon July 20, 1969.
Armstrong became the first man to step onto the moon’s surface, followed by Aldrin.
“Apollo 11, mankind’s first journey beyond earth, into the solar system, was in 1969, 66 years after the historic first flight at Kitty Hawk,” said the observatory’s Bob Lambert.
“These two achievements are two of the greatest of human accomplishments, opening up new vistas for our world,” he said. “One by two determined people running a bicycle shop, the second the dedication of a nation, with many tens of thousands of talented, dedicated people focused on a mission into the unknown.”
Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the Apollo 11 mission and the machines and equipment it took to send astronauts to the moon and return them safely home.
Many participatory venues will be offered.
A re-enactment of Armstrong’s famous first step and his moon walk will be offered on the observatory’s “Tranquility Base” camp.
In the parking lot, attendees can help build the enormous true sized outline of the Saturn V rocket that took the astronauts to the moon and back
One of the volunteers who worked on the lunar module as a young engineer will be on hand to talk with guests.
Inside the observatory, guests will have a rare opportunity to view lunar meteorites.
Other offerings will include use of the observatory’s telescopes and raffles with Apollo 11-themed prizes.
“It is not only an anniversary celebration,” Lambert explained. “We are also cheering on the beginnings of the Artemis project, named after the mythical twin sister of Apollo.”
Current Artemis goals are to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface by 2024.
“Serious work is underway for human habitats on the lunar and Martian surface. It all started with Apollo 11,” Lambert said.
Individuals are encouraged to check www.mccarthyobservatory.org and visit “McCarthy Observatory” on Facebook for regular updates.