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One Giant Leap!

Mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing at the Yorkshire Museum with a weekend of activities on July 20 and 21 that are out of this world…

Step inside a cosmodome and be transported into space, visit the oldest working observatory in York, learn about the historic Cooke telescope, handle real meteorites, learn about lunar geology and enjoy film screenings throughout the day of the moon landings and Wallace and Gromit’s: A Grand Day Out.

This family-friendly event invites you to follow the stars on a special trail throughout the museum, have a go at Planet Hopscotch, try on our spacesuits, re-create a crater and more!

Emma Williams, Assistant Curator of Science and Archaeology Learning, said: “On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the very first man to walk on the moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mission.

“With York’s oldest working observatory, a collection of meteorites and a whole programme of fantastic activities, the Yorkshire Museum is the perfect place to celebrate this historic event.

“Come along to step inside a cosmodome, handle real meteorites, try on space suits and enjoy screenings of the moon landing and Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out and much more!”

Activities are included with admission. Admission to the museum is FREE for children 16 and under and to YMT Card Holders.

Moon Facts!

  • Scientists think the Moon was created by a huge object crashing into the young Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Its diameter is 3,475 km and its circumference at the equator is 10,917 km.
    • Because the size of the Moon is only 1.2% of the Earth, its gravity is much weaker – you would only weigh a sixth of what you do on Earth.
    • The Moon is about 384,000 km from Earth, but is drifting away by 3.8cm every year.
    • There is no air on the Moon because its gravity is not strong enough to hold onto an atmosphere. This means there is no sound and the sky is always black. There is also nothing to protect the surface from meteorites, the solar wind and cosmic rays.
    • The Moon orbits Earth at 3,683 km/h, travelling a distance of 2,290,000 km on its journey around the planet.
    • As the Moon travels around the Earth, its gravity pulls on the oceans, making them bulge and creating the tides.
    • We only see one side of the Moon because it rotates in the same amount of time it takes to orbit the Earth, so one side always faces us.
    • The other, ‘dark side’ of the Moon isn’t really dark, but its day and night cycle lasts about a month – we see this as the changing phases of the Moon. The ‘terminator’, where the light and shadow meet on a crescent moon, is sunrise or sunset on the surface.
    • Having no atmosphere means there are huge temperature changes from day to night, ranging from -233°C to 123°C.
    • Only 12 people have ever walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first in 1969 and Gene Kernan was the last in 1972.

    York Observatory

    The York Observatory in York Museum Gardens was built in 1832, making it the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire.

    The clock in the observatory is a Barraud of London made around 1810; it was presented to the observatory by William Pearson in 1831.  In its day it was the most accurate timepiece in York and it would cost you sixpence to check your timepiece against it.

    After WWII the building fell into disrepair and the original telescope disappeared in the 1950s.  By the 1970s, the York Observatory was in danger of demolition.  Fortunately, a public campaign raised £50,000 to restore it to its original glory in 1981.

    Today, volunteers operate the Observatory on behalf of York Museums Trust.

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