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Progress cargo ship reached International Space Station.
Happy Holidays, Skywatchers! This week we continue our celestial journey beginning before dawn with a close pairing of Venus and Mercury. As we wait for the later and later rise of the Moon each evening, we will visit in Aries with a fine double - Mesarthim. Returning again to the north, it's time to locate the M34 in Perseus and begin studying the open clusters of Auriga with the M36 and M38. For those in the north, discovery awaits you with the "Little Dumbbell", M76, while the south enjoys the incredible Eta Carinae. Celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one by journeying across time and space. Take the time to enjoy the singular beauty of "Hind's Crimson Star" and return again to the "Magnificent Machholz" as it climbs even higher and gets even brighter! So grab your binoculars, get out your telescopes, and hope for clear skies...
Because here's what's up!
An unmanned Progress cargo ship reached the International Space Station on Sunday, and the two-man crew got right to work unloading its cargo. Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and NASA Astronaut Leroy Chiao had both cut their food consumption by 10% to stretch out supplies, and had each lost a few kg during the last month. The Progress ship is carrying 2.5 tonnes of supplies, including a 15kg (33 pound) gift package for each man.
The European Space Agency's Huygens probe successfully detached from Cassini on December 25, and began its brief journey to Titan. The probe is currently dormant, though, and will remain this way for most of its 20-day journey to Saturn's largest moon. Four days before arrival, a triply-redundant alarm clock will wake the probe up, and it will prepare for arrival. On January 14, 2005, the probe will enter Titan's atmosphere, descending to the surface in about 2 hours.
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