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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Celestial

Meteorologist Bill Steffen writes about the Geminid Meteor Shower that peaks later tonight.
The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks late Wednesday Night, Dec. 13-14 (early Thursday AM). It may actually clear out for awhile Weds. night (though as is often the case in December-the low clouds hang until the ridge line makes it overhead and just as they leave, the high clouds from the next system arrive. It's best to be in a dark location, away from artificial light.
Meteor Showers Online offers a synopsis, that reads (in part)
This meteor shower gets the name "Geminids" because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini. An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Geminid meteors as early as December 6, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next week, rates increase until a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour is attained on the night of December 13/14. The last Geminids are seen on December 18, when an observer might see a rate of one every hour or so.
And while gazing at the night sky, ponder the happenings of the man-made kind. The 117th Space Shuttle Mission will be responsible for improvements to the International Space Station according to The Voices in Frank's Head.
I was surfing on-line and found NASA's press kit for the current space shuttle mission (officially known as STS-116, which is the 117th mission for the space shuttle program). Included in this 135 page press kit is the to-do list (or as they prefer to call it "mission priorities") for the current flight.
He concludes
Of course, I think one of the most intersting things about this shuttle mission is something that no one else has touched on. The shuttle crew consists of two women, two Blacks and one Latina and this fact isn't considered to be "newsworthy".

We have finally reached the point where those individuals are just astronauts and they are making news because of their ethnic background or gender.
Read Geminid Meteor Shower by Bill's Blog
Read Space Shuttle To-Do List by The Voices in Frank's Head

The photo is from the Absolute Michigan Pool on Flickr

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