A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Position-Finding
From: Peter Monta
Date: 2018 Jun 10, 00:01 -0700
A very entertaining and informal account! It's certainly clear that nothing was seen on July 20 and for some days afterward.
And, on-topic for NavList, here's his description of frantically consulting the Astronomical Almanac while sitting next to Luis Alvarez (hey, we've all been there):
Thus I was at the center of the first difficulty, which was that we could not find the moon with the world's second largest telescope! In those days the Astronomical Almanac included geocentric lunar coordinates for every hour during the year. When I set to the coordinates given for the nearest hour (usually plenty good enough to find the moon), nothing was there. Over the next 30 or 40 minutes I repeatedly and frantically interpolated coordinates to the nearest 5 minutes, checked to be sure I really had the current Almanac and not last year’s, made sure I had the correct time and tried again -- but still couldn't find the moon. This was deeply humiliating with the TV geeks just out in the hall, and Louis Alvarez sitting there being very polite. Finally someone shouted “There it is!” It appeared as the most delicate spiderweb tracery of just the brightest highlights, still barely perceptible. We had started to set to it in very early twilight with this new camera which we had previously used only at night. The contrast of a bright moon on a bright sky was not as expected. We could find the moon after all, and in fact we must have been on it 100 times already that evening. Whew!
Later in the document he mentions that the first result from the lunar laser ranging was essentially a navigation result, namely, correcting the position of the Lick telescope.