THE CRATERS OF APOLLO 11: 50 years ago, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were hurtling toward the Sea of Tranquility, preparing themselves for the first Moon landing. With memories of Apollo 11 on his mind, Australian amateur astronomer Dennis Simmons turned his telescope toward their landing site last night, and this is what he saw:
“I managed to pinpoint and image the craterlets Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins located in Mare Tranquillitatis, using my 201mm diameter telescope from my back yard in Brisbane,” says Simmons.
These three craters were named after the astronauts following the successful Apollo 11 mission. They’re all small, with diameters of 4.6 kilometers (Armstrong), 3.4 km (Aldrin) and 2.4 km (Collins). Amateur astronomers often use the craters as guides to find the landing site itself by “triangulating” it with, say, Armstrong and Aldrin.
“Was it really 50 years ago when I watched this stupendous achievement of my neighbor’s B&W TV in the early hours of the morning…?” marvels Simmons. “What a moment in history.”