Celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing are taking place this weekend with a number of events to highlight the special occasion including an RTÉ broadcast from the Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO).
The epic journey of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin will be relived with enhanced archive footage and a panel of experts at the Cork observatory on Saturday at 6.30pm presented by Aine Lawlor.
The BCO observatory team will also be bringing the space experience to the heart of the city by transforming Nano Nagle Place on Douglas St and St Peter’s on North Main Street into ‘The Moon’ and ‘The Earth’ respectively for a weekend of ‘Moonwalks’.
Space fans can travel between the St Peter’s and Nano Nagle Place on a scaled-down walking tour that emulates the iconic mission.
Starting at St Peter’s, members of the public will get to ask questions such as: What’s involved in lifting off from planet Earth? How do rockets work? What were the challenges faced by the Apollo 11 mission staff? as well as giet a planetarium show detailing the night sky for the month of July.
For younger visitors, family-friendly workshops will let you build your own straw rockets and rocket mice.
Crossing the city to Nano Nagle Place, you’ll encounter landmarks that represent important milestones on the famous mission. When did they leave Earth orbit? How long did it take to reach the Moon? Did they land where they’d intended?
At Nano Nagle Place, everything takes on a Lunar perspective and a planetarium show will demonstrate where Apollo 11 landed and how long they were there.
There will also be an opportunity to create your very own lino print of The Moon.
A whole host of events are being held at each location over the weekend, with special planetarium shows, workshops, and guest speakers including Leo Enright, Dr Niall Smith and Dr Niamh Shaw.
Head of CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory Dr Niall Smith, said: “These celebrations are an important reminder of humanity’s most daring and impressive achievement.
“I know that seeing this event live had a deeply profound impact on me, and here at the observatory, we’re hoping that these anniversary celebrations will serve to rekindle that inspirational spirit for a generation that wasn’t lucky enough to see this incredible moment first-hand”.
The observatory will host a new exhibit from July 22, on all things Apollo as well as opening up a whole new area that allows visitors to observe some of the real-time research taking place in their labs.
For more information log onto www.bco.ie and search events.