December will mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8 — the first manned mission to orbit the moon. On Dec. 21, 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders were the first humans to see the dark side of the moon with their very own eyes.
In celebration of this historic mission — and Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moonwalk — the South Florida Museum is hosting the new special exhibition: A New Moon Rises. This new Smithsonian traveling exhibition, which features 49 large-scale and highly detailed photographs and video of the moon, will launch its 10-city national tour at the South Florida Museum on Oct. 20 and be on view until Jan. 13, 2019. Visiting the exhibit is included in the cost of admission.
“For countless generations, humans have contemplated the moon hanging so tantalizingly close in the sky,” said Jeff Rodgers, Museum Provost and COO. “As the only celestial object to give a hint of the features on its surface to the unaided eye, the moon beckoned us. This was not some fiery sun or distant point of light; more than anything else in the sky, the moon seemed like a place within our reach.”
Of course, humans did reach the moon and even walked its surface. And today we’re still learning about the moon through robotic spacecraft sent to continue to study, map and photograph the moon.
A New Moon Rises highlights the dramatic landscapes captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) between 2009 and 2015. The images provide unique views of the dynamic lunar surface — with its impact craters, recent volcanic activity and a crust fractured by the shrinking of a still-cooling interior. These images are helping to answer questions about the moon’s formation and evolution and are also revealing stunning landforms both alien and familiar.
“The images in A New Moon Rises include remarkable detail and reveal views that just a decade ago only the Apollo astronauts had ever seen,” Rodgers said. “This exhibition shows the moon as a stark, startling, beautiful place and we’re pleased to be the first stop on the national tour of A New Moon Rises.”
A New Moon Rises was created by the National Air and Space Museum and Arizona State University and is organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. As a proud Smithsonian Affiliate, the South Florida Museum helps build bridges between our community and the national heritage preserved and displayed at the Smithsonian. Together, we strive to reach larger audiences with stories that stimulate curiosity and inspire learning.
“Fifty years ago, when man first orbited the moon, the South Florida Museum was just coming into its own with a new Planetarium and new exhibits. Today, we’re once again marking a transition with a major Museum expansion, so it seems fitting to celebrate these milestones together through this new Smithsonian exhibit,” said Brynne Anne Besio, Museum CEO.
About the LROC
The LROC is actually a system of three cameras that together have taken the highest resolution photos of the moon to date and have mapped its surface in visible, near infrared and ultraviolet light. Launched by NASA in 2009, the spacecraft studies the moon from orbit and has taken more than a million high-resolution images. Although originally conceived to help prepare NASA to send astronauts back to the moon, LRO’s extended mission is now scientific research, exploring Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor in ways never before possible. For example, LROC scientists have discovered small lava flows that are evidence the moon may have been volcanically active as recently as 100 million years ago and young faults that suggest the moon is tectonically active today.
A New Moon Rises-Themed Programs at the Museum
Lunar Landscapes Planetarium Show: Humans have contemplated the moon for countless generations and set foot on its surface in 1969. Today, robotic spacecraft continue to study, map and photograph the moon with remarkable detail, giving us views that only astronauts have seen with their own eyes. These views reveal the moon as a stark, startling, beautiful place. Using NASA data and the Bishop Planetarium’s state-of-the-art visualization system, we take you to the moon to experience it for yourself. We invite you to join us for Lunar Landscapes, a flight across the surface of the moon to view some of the best sites showcased in our special exhibition A New Moon Rises. Presented without narration, Lunar Landscapes allows you to experience this remarkable journey as you wish — as astronaut, scientist, dreamer or poet. We put the moon within your reach. Showtimes: 2 p.m. Sunday & Tuesday-Friday and 11:15 a.m. on Saturday.
Rediscovering the Moon, Oct. 20: Our new family friendly STREAM Saturdays
program features moon-themed activities from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 20. STREAM Saturdays is free with admission and includes hands-on experiments and games, crafts and stories or themed scavenger hunts. No reservations required. Children must attend with a parent or guardian.
Picturing Space: An Introduction to Astrophotography, Nov. 14: Join us during our Lunch & Learn series as Planetarium Manager Howard Hochhalter introduces us to space photography. Don’t forget to bring your own bag lunch! 12:15 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14. Register Now.
Making the Most of Viewing the Night Sky: Choosing and Using Telescopes, Nov. 14: Are you still trying to master your backyard telescope so you can see the moon for yourself? Are you interested in getting a telescope? Join us on Nov. 14 for this think + drink (science) program with Ed McDonough, Regional Sales Manager for Celestron, a leading telescope manufacturer and distributor. McDonough — an active hobbyist is on a mission to make sure that no telescope languishes due to owner confusion. During think + drink, the Bishop Planetarium becomes a theater of discussion where you can learn about science in a relaxed, informal setting that offers plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion. 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14. Cost: $3 Museum Members; $5 non-members. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks available for purchase. Register Now.
Mission to the Moon 2.0, Dec. 8: This program — part of our popular IQuest series geared toward gifted students in grades 6 to 8 — will explore changes in the moon since humans last visited. IQuest programs are designed to inspire out-of-the-box solutions to real-world problems. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Cost: $5, includes a slice of pizza and a drink. Register now.