Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

December 24, 1996
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

A Mirry Christmas
STS-79 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Thinking about spending the Holiday Season in low Earth orbit? Astronaut John Blaha and his cosmonaut colleagues Valeri Korzun and Alexander Kaleri are doing just that onboard the Russian Mir spacestation. You can e-mail them Seasons Greetings. Blaha replaced Shanon Lucid as a Mir resident during the STS-79 mission flown by the Space Shuttle Atlantis and is scheduled to be replaced by Jerry Linenger when Atlantis makes another shuttle run to Mir during the STS-81 mission. The Mir is seen here 200 miles above the Earth as the sun sets following the latest Atlantis undocking. NASA shuttle flights to the Mir are part of the Phase 1 program for construction of the International Space Station.

Tomorrow's picture: An Earth Ornament

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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