NASA probe gets ‘Christmas Star’ photo while orbiting the moon

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While many of us on Earth were craning our necks, trying to get a glimpse of the so-called ‘Christmas Star’ earlier this week, a robotic spacecraft orbiting the moon was able to swing its camera around for an out-of-this-world photo of the celestial event.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) got a photo of ‘The Great Conjunction,’ which is when the big gas planets of Jupiter and Saturn get so close in the sky they appear to meld into one bright object from far away. A similar planetary conjunction may have been what gave rise to the phenomenon of what some call The Star of Bethlehem or The Christmas Star. And while Jupiter and Saturn have a conjunction every 20 years, this year was predicted to be a rare sky show not seen in 800 years because the planets were going to appear so close at a time when many people could witness it.

Publisher: mlive
Date: 2020-12-26T17:23:36.601Z
Author: GRPtgmiter
Twitter: @mlive
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Quite a lot has been going on:

NASA probe snaps ‘great conjunction’ photo of Jupiter and Saturn from the moon

A moon-orbiting probe got a stunning up-close view of the “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn from Earth’s rocky satellite.’

Monday (Dec. 21), Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer in the night sky than they had in about 800 years during what’s known as a “great conjunction.” People all around the globe watched and photographed the planets, which looked almost like a single, bright “star” in the sky. However, us Earthlings weren’t the only ones who got a celestial show.’

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PHOTOS: Chinese moon probe begins return to Earth with lunar samples

BEIJING (AP) ‘ A Chinese lunar probe lifted off from the moon Thursday night with a cargo of lunar samples on the first stage of its return to Earth, state media reported.

Chang’e 5, the third Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon and the first to take off from it again, is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious missions for Beijing’s space program, which also has a spacecraft en route to Mars carrying a robot rover.

The spacecraft touched down on the moon on Tuesday on a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since a Russian spacecraft did so in 1976.

Date: 9CC50DB4C5614EA88B5CFA75E33AAB02
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