Posts tagged ‘July 20’

Neil Armstrong – Rest in Peace – You will be missed!

I remember watching on an old black and white television in our living room as a small child, having only turned 6 yrs old a few months earlier, when then President John F. Kennedy, on May 25, 1961 (Listen to audio of the speech here) when he gave the historic speech before Congress where he said,

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

BOLD emphasis mine.

JFK speech (Man on the moon)_ – YouTube

I also remember being glued to another black and white television a few years later in 1969, with wide eyed wonder, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic landing on the Moon while Michael Collins remain in orbit in the Command Module during the Apollo 11 mission July 20, 1969.

I remember well the historic ‘one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind‘ (never heard the ‘a’ though) famous quote that Neil Armstrong said as he took his first steps on the face of the our own Moon, the same Moon that shone down upon us here on Earth.

Neil Armstrong – One small step – You tube

Now, we who are still alive in this world, again see Neil Armstrong taking the lead in the final step for a man … a step we all will take eventually.

My heart goes out to Neil’s family and friends, including his fellow astronauts that made that historic Apollo 11 mission trip to the Moon, particularly Buzz Aldrin who was right there with him for that 2 1/2 hours exploring the Moon (likely wishing they could stay longer and explore more).

Buzz Aldrin had some thoughts about Neil on his @TheRealBuzz Twitter account, and a great article about Neil’s passing and his thoughts regarding the Apollo 11 mission and how he felt on the Moon on his own website:

Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.

Sea of Tranquility - Earthrise -

Sea of Tranquility – Earthrise –

And this from Wikipedia article on Neil Armstrong,

Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medalwith his former crewmates in 2009.

On August 25, 2012, Armstrong died in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 82 due to complications from blocked coronary arteries.

You will be greatly missed, Neil Armstrong; you, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins will forever be in my memory and the memory of the entire Nation at that time, connected with the culmination of JFK’s great commission to put a man on the Moon and bring him back safely to Earth, the historic Apollo 11 mission, and as great pathfinders during our golden space era. Thank you all.

Rest in Peace Neil Armstrong. You will be greatly missed.

Edit: Had to manually add back in the youtube videos which apparently were not showing up as embedded for some reason. Also added Sea of Tranquility Earthrise NASA image.

Total Eclipse of the Sun

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Astronomers Studying an Eclipse painted by Antoine Caron in 1571

Astronomers Studying an Eclipse painted by Antoine Caron in 1571

My Jim and I were talking about Total Eclipses of the Sun and when we saw one as a child. He remembered that he was about 7 years old and that it was in the afternoon and he was in the Solarium in his house when it happened; I remembered that it was when I was with my Dad making his rounds in the dry cleaning delivery truck on a Saturday and knew I had to be about 8 years old or so and remembered it being in the afternoon (I thought). But neither of us could be sure what year for sure it was.

We wanted to nail it down, since we both saw it together in two different states together. So, I went to the NASA Solar Eclipse page and started looking in the early 60s for a Total Eclipse. Sure enough, there it was July 20, 1963 (here‘s the page where we found it).

All these years later, we both remembered quite a bit about it … and the deepest part of the eclipse only lasted about 1 minute 40 seconds.

Eclipses can be exciting, maybe even a little bit scary, or may cause some measure of anxiety for a child because they have never seen such a thing happen before in their little lives. Giving them as much information as possible, especially for a curious child, can be a great defense against such anxiety. We loved it. Both of us did, even as children. But both of us had some knowledge of what was going on. Science fascinated us both. I remember a woman from the West Indies who was with me when it happened (we stopped at a Judge’s house at the Jersey Shore on my Dad’s rounds noted earlier, and this woman and her husband worked in the house and were good friends of my Dad), and she said that this could be a once in a lifetime thing. She had only seen one once before in her life.

The next Total Eclipse of the Sun for our area in the United States won’t happen again until 2017 (August 21). Hard to say whether we both will still be here then. But I think it will be really interesting if we could share it together this time, instead of seeing it separately in two different states together like last time. Jim in Ohio and me at the Jersey Shore. We didn’t even know each other back then.

It is on my calendar for August 21, 2017 just in case. 😉

Solar eclipse of July 20, 1963 (Wikipedia)

According to Wikipedia, the next Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun after the one August 21, 2017, (that we could see here in the continental United States) won’t occur again until September 23, 2071.

I am pretty certain we won’t be here for that one, but our grandchildren will be.

Information on Solar Eclipses:

Solar eclipse (Wikipedia)

There are some very good external links on that page as well.

You can even listen to the article in .ogg format in two parts from Wikimedia linked on that page or click on the links below:

Solar Eclipses article in audio format from Wikimedia:

Part 1
Part 2

Solar Eclipses have been interpreted as all kinds of omens, portents, etc. in history; particularly related to battle.

In addition, there are some really interesting observations made including some cool scientific observations, as well as some anomalies as well, such as this from the Wikipedia article:

Gravity anomalies

There is a long history of observations of gravity-related phenomena during solar eclipses, especially around totality. In 1954 and again in 1959, Maurice Allais reported observations of strange and unexplained movement during solar eclipses. This phenomenon is now called the Allais Effect. Similarly, Saxl and Allen in 1970 observed sudden change in motion of a torsion pendulum, and this phenomenon is called the Saxl effect.

A recent published observation during the 1997 solar eclipse by Wang et al. suggested a possible gravitational shielding effect, though there is some serious debate. Later in 2002, Yang and Wang published detailed data analysis which suggested that the phenomenon still remains unexplained. More studies are being planned by NASA and ESA over the next decade.

Very interesting stuff!

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