尤里之夜的凸月 A gibbous moon on Yuri's Night
International Day of Human Space Flight
Sixty-one years ago today Yuri Gagarin became the first human to see Earth from space, with a view likely similar to this image of the waning gibbous moon from the International Space Station. With a call of 'Poyekhali!' ('Off we go!'), Gagarin launched into low Earth orbit in his Vostok 3KA spacecraft, making history in less than two hours with a complete trip around the planet.
'International Day of Human Space Flight' is observed today by astronomy lovers of all nationalities, it becomes an international celebration held every April 12 to commemorate milestones in space exploration.
月球的高清合成影像 Composite image of the moon (© Prathamesh Jaju)
Fly me to the moon
It was 52 years ago today that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon. Their photographs of the moon and others since then have become commonplace. But for Moon Day—the annual celebration of that first lunar landing—let's take a close look at this extraordinary image of Earth's only natural satellite. Prathamesh Jaju, age 16, of Pune, India, worked for more than 40 hours stitching together this detailed photograph from more than 50,000 images he took of the moon's surface. Jaju, who describes himself as an 'amateur astrophotographer,' used an automated telescope to track the moon's movements over a four-hour period in May 2021. The result is this highly detailed portrait of the moon's craters, textures, shadows, and colors. While this image may be as close as we ever get to the moon, at least we know we'll never gaze at it the same way again.
Earthrise on Moon Day
Only two dozen people have ever personally witnessed the Earth rising over the lunar surface: the crews of Apollo 8 through 17. Those 24 astronauts are also the only humans to leave low-Earth orbit and see the 'dark' side of the moon—and only 12 of them walked on its surface. We celebrate July 20th as Moon Day, the anniversary of Apollo 11's Eagle lander touching down on the moon and the momentous first steps taken there by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Today's picture of our big blue marble hanging above Mare Smythii was taken by the one of crew of that mission 51 years ago today, but neither Armstrong, Aldrin, nor Command Module Pilot Michael Collins could recall which of them snapped the iconic shot.
Artist Luke Jerram's installation 'Museum of the Moon' at Liverpool Cathedral, England (© Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Bringing the moon to earth
It was fifty years ago that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to feel an alien gravity tugging at them. By landing on the moon on July 20, 1969, a mere 66 years after the first powered flight by the Wright brothers, the two astronauts met the challenge set by John F. Kennedy seven years earlier to land men on the moon before the end of the decade.
In the decades since, NASA and other space agencies around the world have continued to study our satellite companion to unlock its secrets. Those studies produced the detailed images and maps that British artist Luke Jerram used to produce his 23-foot-diameter sculpture Museum of the Moon (shown here in Liverpool Cathedral). The amazingly detailed installation is currently on display the Houston Museum of Natural Science as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing.