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Venus at Its Maximum Brightness.
February 21, 2001
Shuttle Lands Safely in California
Venus at Its Maximum Brightness
Mir Turns Fifteen
SHUTTLE LANDS SAFELY IN CALIFORNIA
After the Space Shuttle Atlantis spent an extra two days in orbit because of bad weather at Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA controllers decided it would land at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The shuttle touched down at 2033 GMT (3:33pm EST), bringing an end to mission STS-98 and the installation of the Destiny module to space station Alpha.
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VENUS AT ITS MAXIMUM BRIGHTNESS
The bright star in the early evening in the Western sky isn't a star at all: it's Venus, and on February 22nd it will be at its brightest point of the year (visual magnitude -4.6). It's currently in the West, about 30 degrees above the horizon just after sunset - just look for the object that's 7 times brighter than any other star or planet in the night sky! With only binoculars or a small telescope, Venus resolves into a burning sliver of light; like a tiny crescent moon. On February 25th, the Moon and Venus will be close together in the sky.
MIR TURNS FIFTEEN
Although it's scheduled for destruction in only a month, the venerable Mir space station survived long enough to reach its 15th birthday on Tuesday. In the last few days, Communist members of the Russian Parliament have attempted to prevent Mir's destruction, with little success. While Russians are attempting to prevent its destruction, tourists are getting ready to appreciate it. They will fly from New Zealand along the course of Mir's destruction, and hope to watch the station as it plunges into the ocean.
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