Stargazing – one small step for man

  • July 13, 2009

On July 4, astronomical enthusiasts gathered at Maropeng to spend an evening admiring and learning about the stars. The evening celebrated the 40th anniversary of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong’s July 1969 moon landing.

Guests hoped to view the moon, in its full phase, but were disappointed when overcast weather prevented them from gazing at the sky through telescopes. The telescopes would have enabled them to view the moon’s surface on which Armstrong historically declared that he had taken “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. 

Though the weather prevented them from stargazing, guests were not forgotten. Resident astronomer Vincent Nettmann entertained and informed the audience about the wonders of the galaxy.

Fascinated, the audience were more than happy to remain inside where they were able to engage with Nettmann, who aims to fill his talks with “the wow factor”.

Instead of telling people that “the moon is 384 000 km away”, Nettmann explains that “if you were to take a trip to the moon, it would take you four months of nonstop driving in a car at 120 km/h.” He prefers to root his talks in everyday examples to help people understand the facts.


After his presentation, Nettmann played a video celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, much to the delight of the enthralled crowd.

The guests were not only treated to a captivating talk but also enjoyed a three-course meal. They even had time to engage in a debate after the event about the landing on the moon.

Despite the inclement weather, guests of all ages had a pleasant evening. Another stargazing event takes place on August 8, celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. Vincent Nettmann will host the evening, and drinks and a three-course meal are included in the price.

Costs are R295 per head and are all inclusive.

Bookings can be made online.

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