Thursday, July 18, 2019

Neil Armstrong's first step happened on my 10th Birthday! Or did it?

Did Neil Armstrong's historic first step on the moon land on my 10th birthday? Let's see. NASA published a detailed timeline of the Apollo 11 mission, and with a little help from date/time conversion websites, and a confirmation that California did indeed observe PDT in 1969, I constructed this timeline of the highlights:

Apollo 11 Timeline

Event       PDT (UTC-7)     EDT (UTC-4)     UTC (GMT)       SAST (UTC+2)
                                                            No DST
----------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------
Liftoff     6:32 am          9:32 am        1:32 pm          3:32 pm
                                            Wed 16 July

Landing     1:17 pm         4:17 pm         8:17 pm         10:17 pm
                                            Sun 20 July

First       8:56 pm        11:56 pm    |    2:56 am          4:56 am
Step        Sun 20 July                |    Mon 21 July

My 10th     10:35 pm
Birthday    Mon 21 July

Lunar       10:54 am        1:54 pm         5:54 pm          7:54 pm
Ascent                                      Mon 21 July

Splashdown   9:21 am       12:51 pm         4:51 pm          6:51 pm
                                            Thu 24 July
I have a recollection of watching the landing on (black and white) TV, then looking out the window at the sky, thinking, "Wow, they are up there right now!". I don't recall if the Moon was visible during the day at that time.

Well, sadly, as I was living in Petaluma, California at the time, Neil's boot hit the moondust at 8:56 pm PDT on Sunday, July 20th, the day before my 10th birthday.

For a certain someone in Cape Town, however, it happened very early on her 10th birthday!

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