National Moon Day is observed annually on July 20 and commemorates the day man first walked on the moon in 1969. NASA reported the moon landing as being “…the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed the first humans, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the moon. Armstrong stepped first onto the lunar surface, six hours after landing and spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Aldrin spent slightly less time but together they collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins piloted Apollo 11 and remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.
Watched by millions, the event was broadcast on live TV to a world-wide audience and all witnessed as Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The history of National Moon Day
In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20 to commemorate the anniversary of man’s first moon landing.
With no continuing proclamation to follow, Richard Christmas took up the baton and began a “Chrismas Card” writing campaign. A former gas station attendant, the Michigan native wrote to governors, congressmen and senators in all 50 states urging them to create National Moon Day. By July of 1975, 12 states had sponsored bills observing Moon Day.
James J. Mullaney, former Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy at Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Staff Astronomer at the Allegheny Observatory, is a modern day supporter of a National Moon Day. He says, “If there’s a Columbus Day on the calendar, there certainly should be a Moon Day!” Mr. Mullaney has been working toward making National Moon Day an official Federal holiday.
Inspiring young space enthusiasts in Delaware
Founded in 1989, the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation (DASEF), an independent non-profit education organization which implements successful programs to motivate, engage, educate and inspire people from diverse background and communities in Delaware. This innovative organization operates with a vision to link contemporary aeronautic, space, and engineering themes with traditional school subjects to increase interest in science and technology.
DASEF offers early childhood experiences that create an exceptional learning environment that inspires children and their families with a sense of appreciation for the earth and its place in the universe. The DASEF vision is driven by the belief that “Wisdom Begins with Wonder.”
DASEF Destination Exploration in Delaware
Parent and child teams explore science and technology topics in a fun and educational way. Monthly adventures in discovery are offered at the Environmental Outpost on 585 Big Oak Road Smyrna, DE 19977.
DASEF Delaware’s Evening “Eyes on the Skies”
DASEF’ offers evening “Eyes on the Skies” sessions at Mountjoy Observatory where kids can explore the universe from the observatory, learn about the moon, the planets, and constellations through family activities, short films and observation.
The Mountjoy Astronomical Observatory is used for observing celestial events. The observatory is attached to the Environmental Outpost, located at 585 Big Oak Road in Smyrna, Delaware. The observatory is home to a 16”Meade Telescope and 3 Orion Newtonians. For more information about DASEF’s programs, please visit DASEF.
Printable Moon Journal
Use this free printable moon journal to record nightly observations of the moon. You’ll discover all kinds of fascinating things about how the moon travels and notice the various phases of the moon.
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