Venus and Jupiter converge
Venus and Jupiter have been approaching each other over the past month, as Jupiter slowly heads toward the southwest from the southern skies, while Venus (which is closer to the sun) rapidly rises from the southwest. They have just about reached their closest (apparent) point, as you can read at space.com. Unfortunately, the weather is so bad across most of the eastern and central United States (rain or snow at most of the football games) that not many Americans can see this celestial convergence tonight. The crescent moon will pass close by on Monday evening, so I hope it clears up by then so that I can see the triple convergence.
Space shuttle returns
The space shuttle Endeavour landed safely Sunday afternoon at Edwards Air Force Base in California, after being re-routed because of bad weather in Florida. The crew spent a full two weeks repairing and adding on to the International Space Station. See CNN.com. Under present plans, the space shuttle fleet is scheduled to be decommissioned in about two years, after which the United States will have no mean to launch astronauts into space for at least two or three more years. Given the overtly hostile attitude of the Russian government over the past year or two, we need to maintain the space shuttles until the new rocket system is operational.