Lunar landing anniversary inspires tributes to the Moon across the globe

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Hans Schwarzenbach Hallwag's The Moon (Published 1969)
© Map House

A half century ago, the first spaceflight to put man on the Moon took off from Floridas Kennedy Space Centre. Is it a coincidence that this milestone 50th anniversary coincides with a full moon lunar eclipse today? One can only speculate on the cosmic mysteries of the universe—and humans have spent millennia doing just that.

To commemorate Apollo 11s historic journey on 16 July 1969, museums, galleries and institutions around the world have been turning their sights skyward, launching exhibitions devoted to our enduring fascination with the changeable silver orb that illuminates the night sky and pulls our oceans tides.

Indeed, man has been charting the moons movements long before we ever dreamed of setting foot on it. At Londons The Map House, Mapping the Moon: 1669-1969(until 21 August) surveys celestial cartography of the last 300 years. Featuring early 17th-century engravings of the solar system to a rare French horoscope-predicting device from the 1930s, Victorian-era illuminated star maps to Buzz Aldrin's space travel documents, the show charts our ongoing astrological, astronomical and technological pursuit of La Lune.

Victor-Florence Pollet's, Endymion and Selene (c.1850)
© Victoria and Albert Museum

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Our scientific understanding of the Moon is almost difficult to divorce from our artistic interpretation of it, so long has it captured our collective imagination in both disciplines. At the Royal Museums Greenwich in London, the simply titled exhibition The Moon, opening 19 July, features 180 objects probing our relationship to the Earth's nearest celestial neighbour, such as lunar samples collected from Nasas Apollo missions and the Soviet Unions Luna programme, as well as works of art by JMW Turner, El Anatsui and Larissa Sansour. The oldest object in the show, a Mesopotamian tablet from 172 BCE, shows how lunar eclipses were considered bad omens (but do not let that dent your appreciation of todays eclipse).

Indeed, scientific study and aesthetic appreciation of the Moon seamlessly merge in two shows devoted to lunar photography. At the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Apollos Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography(until 22 September) presents 170 images of the Moon from the dawn of photography to the present, and includes cameras used by Apollo astronauts. On view until 5 January 2020, By the Light of the Silvery Moon: a Century of Lunar Photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, similarly explores how photographic technology radically shifted the clarity with which we saw the Moon, leading us into a worldwide space race to finally experience it for ourselves by sending a team of astronauts to scout its surface.

Aleksandra Mir's First Woman on the Moon (1999)
(c) Courtesy of the artist

To be sure, planting a flag in the Moon remains a fantastic concept, one that has inspired many a conspiracy theory given how long the human race has wanted to realise it. Capitalising on the momentous occasion of man reaching the Moon, Christie's is offering the Timeline Book, touted as the key manual used to get Apollo 11 to its surface, in its One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 Years After Apollo sale in New York on 18 July. Estimated at $7-$9m, the log explains how to undocRead More – Source

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