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Lowell Observatory Hosts Lunar Legacy Celebration on July 20

Bill Cannell (left) and Patricia Bridges sketching the Moon at the Clark Refractor

Bill Cannell (left) and Patricia Bridges sketching the Moon at the Clark Refractor



JULY 12, 2019

***Contact details appear below***


Flagstaff, AZ.  – In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Lowell Observatory will host a Lunar Legacy celebration on July 20, with activities running from 10 am until close at 10 pm ( This event is part of an 18-month-long, community-wide effort celebrating Flagstaff’s scientific role in preparing for the Apollo missions to the Moon (

From 1961 to 1969, scientific illustrators worked with telescope observers at Lowell to create detailed lunar maps in preparation for the Moon landings. Meanwhile, all the Moon-bound astronauts engaged in training exercises at several locales around northern Arizona, including Lowell Observatory. The July 20 celebration will highlight these efforts with themed tours and programs, live music, and a discussion by scientists and others involved in the Apollo astronauts’ training. 

Schedule of Events for July 20, 2019

10 am – 10 pm | Hands-on Moon-themed activities for kids

10:15 am and 4 pm | Lunar Legacy Tours
Hear the story behind the Moon mapping and astronaut training that occurred at Lowell in preparation for the Apollo missions to the Moon.

1 pm and 4 pm | Lunar Legacy Exhibit
See the tools used in the Moon mapping project at Lowell and the detailed maps that resulted from it. Also on display are photographs and signatures from the astronauts’ visit to the observatory.

5 and 6 pm | Lunar Presentations on the OmniGlobe
Geologist Greg Vaughan of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center will lead guests through a 25-minute exploration of the Moon via our interactive OmniGlobe spherical display.

5:30 – 6:45 pm | Live Music from the Flagstaff Community Band
Hear an outdoor concert featuring space songs performed by the Flagstaff Community Band, including an exciting new piece by composer Erik Morales called “One Giant Leap.”

7 – 7:45 pm | Lunar Legends Panel
Listen to past and present scientists (“Lunar Legends”) talking about Flagstaff’s role in preparing for manned spaceflight missions, from Apollo to modern-day efforts. Scheduled panelists include Carolyn Shoemaker (comet discoverer and wife of the “father of astrogeology”—Gene Shoemaker), geologists Gerald Schaber and Lauren Edgar, and Gene Shoemaker’s secretary Jody Swann. 

7:45 – 8 pm | “One Giant Leap” Video
In a video captured during the dedication of Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope in 2012, Neil Armstrong narrates the harrowing moments leading up to Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon. The video culminates with vintage footage of Armstrong taking his “One Giant Leap for Mankind,” which displays at 7:56 pm, 50 years to the minute after Armstrong’s feat.

8 – 8:30 pm | “One Giant Leap” Retrospective. 
Lunar Legends panelists recall Armstrong’s first footsteps on the Moon, what it meant to them, and how it continues to inspire scientific pursuits. Moderated by astronomy historian William Sheehan.

8:30 – 9 pm | Lunar Legends Mingle
Guest may enjoy the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the Lunar Legends, take pictures and have autographs signed. In addition to Lunar Legends panelists, others expected to be on hand include Bill Tinnen, Ray Jordan, and Carol Breed.

8 – 10 pm | Meet an Astronomer – Phil Massey
Meet massive star expert Phil Massey, and take a peek at real-time images of planets, stars, galaxies and other celestial objects to be displayed on a large television screen outdoors using the observatory’s MallinCam system. 

11:30 pm – 1 am | After Hours Clark Viewing
Stay late to view the night sky through the historic 24” Clark Refractor that was used to map the Moon. Additional fee applies.

Open Hours

Hours for Lowell’s July 20 Lunar Legacy celebration are 10 am – 10 pm. Regular admission rates apply and are good for same-day readmission: $17 per adult; $10 per child aged 5-17; $16 for seniors, AAA, military, college.


About Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) research institution, founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell atop Mars Hill in Flagstaff, Arizona. The observatory has been the site of many important discoveries, including the first detection of large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipher in 1912-1914 (a result that led ultimately to the realization that the universe is expanding), and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, the observatory’s 14 tenured astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. Lowell Observatory currently operates multiple research instruments at its Anderson Mesa station, east of Flagstaff, and the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope near Happy Jack, Arizona. The observatory also welcomes more than 100,000 guests per year to its Mars Hill campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, for a variety of educational experiences, including historical tours, science presentations, and telescope viewing.

Media Contact 

Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory
(928) 607-1387