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Three Different Views of the Moon at Santa Monica College Planetarium

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

June 25, 2019 -- Astronaut Neil Armstrong's "small step" and "giant leap" onto the lunar surface led to a moonwalk that has become one of the most viewed moving images in history.

Next month, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will commemorate the moment with a 50-Year Retrospective that includes extended footage of man's first walk on the moon.

Neil Armstrong on the moon
Neil Armstrong on the moon (Courtesy of NASA)

The retrospective presented on July 19 and again on July 26 is one of three shows next month that provide vastly different perspectives of the moon -- from a crescent sliver in the sky to the goal of billionaires trying to reach it again.

The extended footage of Armstrong's famous slow, leaping walk on July 20, 1969 will be screened after the intermission of the retrospective show “Journey to Tranquility Base: Apollo 11, 50 Years On.”

The sequence that led to the moving images captured live on a color TV camera and transmitted back to Earth is outlined in instruction-like prose on NASA's website.

"At about 109 hours, 42 minutes after launch, Armstrong stepped onto the moon. About 20 minutes later, (Buzz) Aldrin followed him.

"The camera was then positioned on a tripod about 30 feet from the LM (Lunar Module). Half an hour later, President Nixon spoke by telephone link with the astronauts."

A far more distant view of the moon will be offered on July 5 when the planetarium holds a Special Observing Event titled “Thin Crescent Moon, Earthlight, and Jupiter.”

The show, organizers said, offers "a look through a variety of telescopes at a slender 3-day-old crescent Moon, as well as the gas giant Jupiter and its four largest moons, rising in the southeast near the red giant star Antares."

If clouds intervene, the program will stay in the planetarium with high-resolution images.

On July 12, the show “NASA Human Spaceflight Update” offers the latest news on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), part of NASA's Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the Moon.

The show also explores "human return to the vicinity of the Moon to assemble the Lunar Gateway, and other public and private efforts, some of which could potentially render some of NASA’s plans moot," organizers said.

This program will be presented again on August 2.

The feature shows and a telescope viewing session take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers "the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly 'tour' of the constellations and answers to astronomy-related questions.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill," or $6 ($5 seniors age 60 and older and children age 12 and under) for a single show or telescope-viewing session.

For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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