ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No 60 - July 2009

the Moon by Galilei
the Moon by Luna 3
the Earth from Apollo 8
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

The international month of the Moon?

The two historical anchors of the International Year of Astronomy both relate to the Moon and the month of July.

400 years ago, on 1609-07-26, Thomas Harriot was the first to observe the Moon with a telescope. The drawing here (top, courtesy Wikipedia) is by Galileo Galilei and was published in March 1610 in Sidereus Nuncius. Harriot drew a superior map of the Moon in 1610, but his astronomical achievements remained unknown until 1785 (Chapman, 2008, Journal of the BAA, 118, p.315).

The second image (courtesy Wikimedia and NASA NSSDC) shows most of the far side of the Moon. The Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft took it as it passed the Moon, 50 years ago, on 1959-10-07.

40 years ago, on 1969-07-20, NASA's Apollo programme put the first two humans on the Moon. Bill Anders took the third picture (courtesy Wikipedia and NASA) the year before from Apollo 8. Galileo had looked at the Moon and shown it to be imperfect and earth-like, now humans were looking back at Earth to find it a small blue marble in vast empty space.

The last picture (courtesy Wikipedia and NASA) was taken by Neil Armstrong and shows Buzz (Edwin) Aldrin on the surface of the Moon. Michael Collins, who remained in lunar orbit, was amongst the majority of humans that had no television set to watch the event in real time.

Horst Meyerdierks


Cover page

Society news

A letter to the Journal of the BAA

A grand event to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy

Forthcoming events

Obituary: Mary Brück

The international month of the Moon?

About the ASE Journal

This journal as a single web page

This journal as PDF file (780 kByte)

web: ISSN 1756-5111
print: ISSN 1756-5103

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