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9,000 light-years away from the Earth.
David Hardy illustrates and Patrick Moore writes to make their book Futures - 50 Years in Space, The Challenge of the Stars a portable art gallery of near and far space phenomena. With imagination to spare and drawing upon a universe of subject matter, they conjure up views and perspectives of planets and skies that are all, literally and figuratively, out of this world. But their incantations and apparitions aren't complete speculation. Each author brings over fifty years of relevant work experience which results in apparitions that are likely more prescient than most.
The European-built Cupola module has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is now being prepared for an upcoming shuttle launch. When it's finally installed on the International Space Station, it will give astronauts a panoramic view of the station and the Earth below. They won't just be gazing dreamily at our planet, though, the Cupola will let crewmembers monitor spacewalks, docking operations and exterior equipment surveys. If all goes well, the Cupola will launch on STS-133, which is now due to lift off in 2009.
NASA's Spitzer space telescope has turned up a relatively close globular star cluster that was obscured by dust and invisible to most instruments. Andrew Monson from the University of Wyoming first discovered the cluster while scanning for objects in the dusty mid-plane of the Milky Way. Follow up observations determined that the cluster is only 9,000 light-years away from the Earth in the constellation of Aquila, making it one of the closest clusters to our planet.
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