50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Welcome to moonfest! The University of Arizona celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the landmark Apollo 11 moon landing this July with special events and exhibits. With so much going on, we decided to give the collection of events a name: moonfest!

50 years ago, on July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first step ever onto the surface of the Moon. It was a moment that forever changed our understanding of who we are, where we are, and what we can achieve. 

It was also the beginning of a golden age of planetary science. The University of Arizona has been there every step of the way, from the moon landing to the exploration of all the planets in our solar system. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing at the UA’s moonfest events. 

A special thanks to all our partners: College of Science, Department of Lunar and Planetary Labs, Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, University Libraries, Pima Air and Space, Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, Sky Bar, Astronomy on Tap, Arizona Diamondbacks, Bookman’s, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson Children’s Museum, The Loft Cinema, Raytheon, Dark Sky Alliance, SpaceFest, PSI, and more!

November 1: “Moon” Exhibit Mini-Tours

As part of Homecoming Weekend, Special Collections is offering a free curator-led introduction and overview of the “Moon” exhibit. Talk with the subject matter experts who curated the exhibit. Each mini-tour will run approximately 15 minutes, and the exhibit will be open for viewing following the tour. Space is limited, and an RSVP is required. RSVP HERE

Audience: Alumni, general public
Location: UA Libraries Special Collections
Cost: Free

November 7: Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science: Derek Sears Author Talk 

Astronomer Gerard P. Kuiper ignored the traditions of his field. Using telescopes and the laboratory, he made the solar system a familiar, intriguing place, creating a new discipline: planetary science. After founding the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in 1960, Kuiper and his team helped to identify landing sites on the Moon for the Apollo program, among other important work in planetary science. Kuiper led the lab until his death in 1973. One of the buildings at LPL is named in his honor. Not just a biography of a single man, author Derek Sears shares the story of our institution’s important role in exploration of the Moon and much more. 

Audience: UA campus, General public
Location: UA Libraries Special Collections
Cost: Free

For more information click here Derek Sears Talk Information Derek Sears Talk RSVP

Past Events

May 18 - July 7: UA Under the Moon

Exhibit of paintings at UA Museum of Art will feature moon related art to commemorate the 50thAnniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Audience: General Public
Location: UA Museum of Art
Cost: Paid admission

UA Museum of Art Website

June 22: Night Wings Program

The monthly Night Wings program at PASM will focus on the moon and space with a presentation from Terry White about the Apollo missions. 

Audience: General
Location: Pima Air and Space Museum
Cost: TBD

PASM Night Wings

June 30th: PBS “Chasing The Moon” Screening


AZPM and Flandrau will be hosting a special preview event of "Chasing the Moon", a new PBS series, along with a panel of lunar scientists to answer questions about research done by the University of Arizona on the Moon. Panel discussion will be streamed online on the AZPM website. Panelists include: Lynn Carter, Jason Davis, and Bill Hartmann. Moderated by Vanessa Barchfield.
Audience: General public
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
Cost: Free

AZPM Livestream

July 8-13: Night of the Marvelous Moon @ Kitt Peak

July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon. To plan Apollo 11 and the other amazing Apollo missions, in 1964 the Apollo astronauts gathered around the large reflected image of the moon produced by the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope at Kitt Peak. The telescope’s design allowed for collective viewing of the moon rather than requiring individual observers to go to an eyepiece, a capability not available on any other telescope. In celebration of Apollo 11, you, too, can view the moon as the astronauts did in 1964. 

From July 8 to July 13, the Night of the Marvelous Moon program at Kitt Peak will feature observations of the moon with the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. Make your reservations today to walk in the footsteps of the astronauts and view the moon as they viewed it when planning humanity’s first trip to another world.

For more Information

July 13th: Hello Moon Night

To kick off Moon Week at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, at 6:30pm UA English Professor and science writer Chris Cokinos will give a fascinating presentation about how our understanding of the moon has changed through history and culture, and how science forever changed our view of the moon. Following the presentation, Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) will have telescopes on the UA Mall in front of Flandrau so visitors can see the moon “up close”.

Audience: General public
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium and the UA Mall (in front of Flandrau at Cherry Ave. and University Blvd.)
Cokinos presentation is free, telescope viewing is free, Flandrau general admission $5, Shows $5
Please note, the Cokinos presentation is free, but ticket reservations are required due to limited seating capacity. Cokinos presentation tickets: click here! SOLD OUT

Hello Moon Night

July 13 - 20: Moon Landing Week

Moon Landing Week to celebrate the 50thAnniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Flandrau’s week will start with the "Hello Moon Night" event on Saturday, July 13 and continue with special exhibits, planetarium shows (including CAPCOM GO! and Desert Moon screenings), and presentations leading up to Saturday, July 20, when the Apollo landing is celebrated at Flandrau's One Giant Leap! event.

Audience: General public and Families with kids
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
Cost: $5 General Admission, $5 Planetarium Shows (This offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons)

Moon Landing Week Information

July 20th Events

Summer Science Saturday at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory 
July 20, 1969, is the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first human step on the lunar surface. LPL will celebrate this anniversary with their Summer Science Saturday event. The event will commemorate the Moon Landing, highlight UA’s involvement in the Space Race to land a man on the moon, and showcase other UA lunar research. LPL plans include 3 lecture presentations, exhibits, and book sales from 10am-4pm. Speakers: Bob Strom, Jeff Andrews-Hanna, Bill Hartmann. 
Audience: Adults, families
Location: Lunar & Planetary Laboratory (next door to Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium)
Cost: Free
For more information: 

Special Collections “Moon” Exhibit Opening:
Visit UA Special Collections on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing for the opening of "Moon," an exhibit celebrating the cultural and scientific aspects of the moon. Visitors will enjoy a real virtual reality outer space experience with VR gear and demonstrations provided by the University of Arizona Libraries staff. The event is 10am-4pm, free and open to the public, and coincides with the Summer Science Saturday celebration at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory – just a short walk across the mall!

Audience: General public
Location: Special Collections, UA Library 
Cost: Free
For more information: 

One Giant Leap Day! Flandrau Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11
Special activities for families from 1-4pm, special shows and presentations. Click for more information. 
Audience: Families with kids
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
Cost: $5 shows, $5 admission (This offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons)
For more information: 

Tucson Children's Museum
Special moon activities on Saturday, July 20. 10am – 2pm. CMT staff will offer special moon activities for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. Activities include coloring, Playdoh, 3D models, crater making, and spacesuit activities.
Audience: Families with kids
Location: Tucson Children's Museum
Cost: Museum admission required, activities free with admission.

Tours at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab 
Special 1/2 hour tours of innovative engineering and optical technology melded with manufacturing techniques to produce the largest and most advanced giant (8.4 meters / 27 ft)  telescope mirrors in the world!
Audience: Adults
Location: Richard F. Caris Mirro Lab
Cost: $10
For more information: Mirror Lab Tour Tickets

Loft Cinema
The Loft Cinema will screen the 1989 documentary "For All Mankind" at 2pm with speaker Bill Boynton from the University of Arizona's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory.
Audience: General
Location: The Loft Cinema 
Cost: Paid admission

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will host an 8pm event to commemorate the 50thAnniversary of the moon landing. Speaker: Amanda Stadermann of the University of Arizona's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory.
Audience: General
Location: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Cost: Paid admission
More Information: https://www.desertmuseum.org/visit/events_saturday.php

Diamondbacks Space Night
Sponsored by Raytheon. During the Diamondbacks baseball game in Phoenix, the UA will collaborate with Raytheon, ASU, NAU and Embry Riddle to display space related activities to celebrate Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary. UA’s Lunar and Planetary Lab and OSIRIS-REx mission will offer hands-on activities about LPL’s role in lunar exploration and planetary science, including the OSIRIS-REx mission and new science from the asteroid Bennu.
Audience: General
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
Cost: Varies, 

July 1-31: CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story

This fulldome planetarium show about the Apollo missions will run through the month of July (Moon Month) at Flandrau. Each show will end with a live presentation about UA’s important role in the “Space Race” to land a man on the moon. Generously funded by the Galileo Circle. 

Audience: General Audiences
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
Cost: Paid Admission

View Show Trailer Showtimes

July 24: Space Drafts Program

Borderlands Brewing Company will host presenters Bill Hartmann and Amanda Stadermann. 

Audience: General
Location: Borderlands Brewing, 

Cost: Free

Astronomy on Tap

July 27: First Man: Alumni Summer Movie Event

The College of Science is celebrating moonfest and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing by watching First Man. A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Join us on Saturday, July 27th for this free event at Gallagher Theater. The first 100 guests to sign up will receive a free gift! Each attendee will receive one bag of free popcorn and a water bottle. This event is for UA alumni, friends and family, so please sign up with the name and email address of a UA alumnus/a. Six tickets are allowed per registrant.


July 27: Night Wings Program

The monthly Night Wings program at PASM will focus on the moon and space.

Audience: General
Location: Pima Air and Space Museum
Cost: TBD
More information: 

PASM Night Wings Program

July 16: Starrytime and Music Hour for Kids

Sing, dance, read, and craft – all in one! Join Bookmans East for this special "Starrytime" music hour – all about the moon! Learn all the classic childhood songs, read, and wrap it up with a new craft. This exciting interactive event is fast-paced enough to keep all the little ones engaged all while learning and exploring in a safe, enthusiastic environment. 

When: July 16, 10–11am, Bookman's East, 6230 E. Speedway
Audience: Kids and Families.
Cost: Free


July 16: VIP Event: From Arizona To The Moon

VIP Event coordinated among College of Science Galileo Circle, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Steward Observatory, Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, and University of Arizona Libraries. Event begins with reception, followed by special presenters Melissa Sevigny and Tim Swindle, followed a special showing of CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story

Audience: Invited Guests Only; to learn more about Galileo Circle membership and events, click here.
Location: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

October 2: Lunar Poetry Event – The Moon is Still as Bright

Poetry about the moon spans ancient and contemporary cultures across the world. Poet and science writer Christopher Cokinos, an Associate Professor of English, and poet and Poetry Center staffer, Julie Swarstad Johnson, will present an evening of readings of lunar poetry hosted by Special Collections. You'll hear English verse folktales, indigenous creation myths, haiku and work by English and American poets, from Shelley to Sexton, from Hughes to Hayden. Johnson and Cokinos are also editing a forthcoming anthology called Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight and will offer a special preview of some of the poems included that responded to the Apollo era.

Audience: General public
Location: UA Libraries Special Collections
Cost: Free

For more information click here

October 5: International Observe the Moon Night

Come celebrate our Moon at “International Observe the Moon Night,” a free public Moon viewing event on Saturday, October 5. You can marvel at the moon “up close” through telescopes on the UA Mall, enjoy live music from a UA School of Music ensemble, and enjoy family-friendly Moon activities. Plus we’ll have a special presentation about the moon from planetary scientist and science communicator Pamela Gay in the planetarium theater at 7pm. Event runs from 5pm to 10pm, Saturday, October 5, 2019. Free telescope viewing. Free moon presentation at 7pm. Special pricing $5 shows, $5 exhibits all day.

For more information click here

July 16: Go For Launch! 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Moon landing anniversary event at Sky Bar on 4thAvenue, starts with a screening of the film Apollo 11at 6pm, followed by speaker Bill Hartmann at 7:30pm. Musician Steff Koeppen at 8:30pm with Apollo 11 launch and landing films on the video screens as the music plays. Also an Art Show featuring space artists provided by Novapace, and telescopes on the patio.

When: July 16, 6pm
Audience: Adults
Cost: Free

For more Information

August 8-11: Spacefest X

People from all over the world attend Spacefest in Tucson, Arizona for their astronaut autograph show and prominent guest speakers. It is THE event for space enthusiasts of any stripe – Astronomy, Human Space Exploration, Robotic Space Exploration, Commercial Space Development or Space History Enthusiast. For the Professional and Amateur. See their website for guests and ticket info. Free for kids 12 and under.

Audience: General
Location: JW Marriott @ Starr Pass
Cost: Paid Admission
More information: 


Spacefest X

Moon Month in the News