In celebration of the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 Moon landing mission, Santa Ana College (SAC) is holding an event featuring two new planetarium shows, hands-on science activities and stargazing on Saturday, July 20.
“This event is being organized for the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landing on the Moon, which took place on July 20, 1969,” said Tessman Planetarium Director Daniel Horenstein. “This monumental achievement was a defining moment in our shared history. It’s a perfect example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
Three 60-minute planetarium presentations discovering the voyages from Earth to the Moon are scheduled throughout the event, which runs from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The first, America in Space, relives the story astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s descent onto the lunar surface as they took mankind’s first giant leap into space. Presented by Bob Menn, America in Space will begin at 4 p.m. The second, Moon, is scheduled for two performances, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Presented by Horenstein, Moon explores what it took to travel to the Moon, how we were able to do it and details what we’ve learned about our closest celestial neighbor over the past 50 years.
Between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. the community can participate in hands-on science activities for future astronauts of all ages, including projects allowing participants to construct a crater, create a constellation, plan the planets, scout the lunar surface and sketch the Solar System. Capping off the evening, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., weather permitting, student astronomers from SAC will operate telescopes and introduce the community to the night sky.
“This event is for our community,” said Horenstein. “As I’m fond of telling my students, science is not a secret society. Reaching the Moon in 1969 was a truly national enterprise that involved people from every part of the country and every walk of life. Our efforts in space united a fractured world behind a common goal. Taking our next steps out into the Solar System is going to require a similar effort, including right here in Santa Ana. As we look back over the previous 50 years of the Space Age, we can ponder what the next 50 years of exploration have in store.”
All stargazing and science activities are free, but there is a small fee to view any of the planetarium performances. Tickets, $5, are available online and at the door. Santa Ana College is at 1530 W. 17th Street in Santa Ana. The Tessman Planetarium is located in building M at the center of campus. Parking is available in lots 6 through 12. Permits, $2, are available on campus, or the community can easily access the campus by bus. For more information, visit sac.edu/apollo11.