Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Can you remember the phase of the moon during the Apollo 11 landing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    16,771

    Can you remember the phase of the moon during the Apollo 11 landing?

    If you were alive at the time. Though any previous-life recall will be given appropriate attention.

    Lots of us went out and stared at the moon around that time, but in conversation with others of my vintage I've encountered what seems to be a false memory syndrome - people have strong memories of the moon being in a counterfactual phase, perhaps driven by later fictional portrayals of the situation.
    I was reminded of that when scrolling through the "goofs" list for First Man, where someone posted the same wrong phase my friends recall.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NEOTP Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,372
    I did the same; went outside and looked up. The moon was about first quarter and waxing. I also saw that "goof" comment on IMDB.

    Of course my memory is aided by the fact that I knew - even then - that the landing was planned so that sunlight would create shadows and contrast, enabling Armstrong to more easily see his landing spots. All of the planned missions took place during a waxing phase.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    4,330
    A few days before first quarter I would say. I looked at it as well. And just after first quarter for Twelve.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    The Space Coast
    Posts
    4,302
    Various online Lunar phase calendars say landing occurred 2 days before 1st quarter. Here's one:
    http://www.moonconnection.com/moon_p...calendar.phtml

    You can enter any date, though I can't vouch for the accuracy. It seems legit.

    CJSF
    "Find a way to show what would happen
    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Put It To The Test"


    lonelybirder.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    48,000
    I have no memory of what the phase of the Moon was. I'm sure I looked at the Moon. I have much stronger memories of Walter Cronkite doing the commentary, than the phase of the Moon.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    16,771
    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Various online Lunar phase calendars say landing occurred 2 days before 1st quarter. Here's one:
    http://www.moonconnection.com/moon_p...calendar.phtml

    You can enter any date, though I can't vouch for the accuracy. It seems legit.
    Ah, cheating.
    Yes, it looked like this, with the yellow line marking the terminator:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Apollo 11.png 
Views:	24 
Size:	559.8 KB 
ID:	23671
    (I've marked the terminator because we never got around to implementing a good reflectance model for the moon in Celestia, so the simulated lunar terminator is a bit rubbish.)
    Because of the landing site constraints, the phase was generally within a few days either side of the quarter for the Apollo landings.
    But a lot of people seem to believe it was within a few days either side of full, to judge from conversations I've had over the years - there seems to be a really strong emotional attachment to the idea of stepping outside and gazing up at a big bright full moon, knowing there were people up there.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,041
    I imagine I, along with the rest of my family, went out and looked at the moon but I have no memory of doing so.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    The Space Coast
    Posts
    4,302
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Ah, cheating.
    LOL! Yes, well as I couldn't have been around to look! It must have been surreal and amazing to look up and know there were people walking and working up there. Chills just thinking about it!

    CJSF
    "Find a way to show what would happen
    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Put It To The Test"


    lonelybirder.org

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,071
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But a lot of people seem to believe it was within a few days either side of full, to judge from conversations I've had over the years - there seems to be a really strong emotional attachment to the idea of stepping outside and gazing up at a big bright full moon, knowing there were people up there.
    I remember some details about going out to look at the moon, but I certainly didn't retain a memory about the phase. I do recall that the moon seemed bright, but then again, I believe the sky was reasonably clear and we weren't living in a location with heavy light pollution, so it wouldn't take much for the moon to stand out in the sky. I wouldn't expect it to have been a full moon, but only because of what I have learned since.

    It is interesting to think about what I do remember. Apollo 11 is the first mission where I have clear and specific memories about the event. I can say where we were living (Lincoln, Nebraska), that my parents and I camped out in front of the TV, that at one point my mother and I went out the front door of the house (I remember specifically which door), that we looked at the moon, and I said "There are people up there" (which seemed profound to me at the time, even if it's obvious). Most of the memories I'd expect are mostly real were other things about the house and what we were doing - I would suspect a lot of the other memories have blurred with things I learned about the event in later years, though I am sure about some of the stuff we watched on TV.

    I don't recall anything specific about Apollo 12 - I suspect the camera failure didn't help. I remember more about Apollo 13, and where we were living at the time, and bits and pieces about the other missions (like fiddling with the antenna on the spare TV during some of Apollo 16 because the parents weren't as interested in that one). But in all cases I'd say that I just retain bits and pieces about the specifics.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2018-Oct-20 at 05:10 AM.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,071
    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    LOL! Yes, well as I couldn't have been around to look! It must have been surreal and amazing to look up and know there were people walking and working up there. Chills just thinking about it!

    CJSF
    My eyes still get a little misty when I think about it. I'm still looking forward to the day that it's just as mundane as knowing there are people living in space.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NEOTP Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,372
    Addendum: As I think about it I'm pretty sure I went outside to look at the moon after the LEM landed 16:17 EDT (20:17 UTC) but before the EVA began. I recall seeing the moon from just outside the side entrance of my grandparent's home in Kentucky.

    Armstrong touched the surface at 22:56 EDT (02:56 July 21 UTC) and at that point, from my viewing location, the moon was only 12 degrees above the horizon in the Southwest and I don't recall it being that low when I looked.

    I also don't recall the buttoning up process and launch back to Columbia. I was probably exhausted by that point (1:54 am July 21) and had gone to bed.

    ETA: DOH! The return launch was at 13:54. I'm sure I was awake but at that point probably not paying much attention. My father had died the day before (yep, on July 20) and needless to say my family and I were in a deeply depressed and grieving mood. Even with all of the angst I still watched the key bits of the mission.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2018-Oct-20 at 04:02 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,806
    I was 10 years old that summer, and super excited about the mission. The weather was generally clear that day. And yet, I have no recollection of even looking for the moon.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    16,771
    I have no recollection of looking at the moon during the landing itself. What I do have a very striking memory of is the thin sliver of crescent visible in the sky during the outward translunar phase. Since I had a large moon map on my wall, with the landing site marked, I was aware that Tranquillitatis was in darkness at that point. There was a definite "Oh!" moment when I figured out it would be sunlit by the time they got there.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-Oct-20 at 05:20 PM. Reason: spelling
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,806
    It wasn't until some time after the mission was done that I saw an image of the moon with the site marked and made a point of remembering the location, so that when I looked at the moon, I'd be able to say "That's where they landed!"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •