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When the Enterprise exhibit opens at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, "Star Trek" fans will be among the first people in line to see the historic space shuttle. Trekkies – fans of the television series and movies – share a special bond with the prototype for NASA’s first reusable manned spacecraft. The Enterprise got its name thanks, in part, to their efforts.
The first space shuttle was originally supposed to be called the Constitution. But in 1976, President Gerald Ford received tens of thousands of letters from "Star Trek" fans. The science fiction buffs saw the shuttle as the realization of their dream world. They wanted it renamed Enterprise.
“Suddenly, the stuff we were seeing on television, every week, every night on "Star Trek," was becoming a reality,” Frank Gruber said. His home in suburban Lincoln Park, New Jersey, is a shrine to "Star Trek." Models of the starship Enterprise and other fictional spacecraft from the TV shows and movies hang from the ceiling. The walls are covered with photos of Gruber posing with "Star Trek" cast members.
Norwegian iReporter Hans-Dieter Fleger, 58, is an avid stargazer. He’s bookmarked the websites for NASA, the Space Weather Prediction Center and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. So, he knew what to look for the night of November 8, when the Moon and Jupiter were scheduled to form a conjunction.
A conjunction is a loose astronomical term used to describe a moment when two celestial bodies are near each other in the sky.
Since astronomy and photography happen to be two of Hans' greatest passions, he was well-armed to capture the rare event. Armed with his camera and a remote, he snapped this picture as the Moon and Jupiter (center-right in the picture above) were within 10 degrees of each other.
And after he took the picture, he discovered an added bonus in one of his shots: A meteorite's tail streaking above the moon as it entered the Earth's atmosphere!
If you enjoy photographing the stars, share your best stargazing moments with iReport.
Candy Torres drove nonstop for 21 hours to see the launch of space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. She had seen shuttle launches before, but this trip from Princeton, New Jersey, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, was different: Sally Ride was about to become the first female U.S. astronaut to leave the Earth's atmosphere.
Torres was proud to watch the first female astronaut take flight. She was even more proud at the thought of Ride's achievement inspiring more women to work in the space program. In a field that was almost entirely dominated by men, Torres had been working as a satellite engineer for seven years.
Torres shared photos of the launch with CNN iReport as NASA prepared for the final flight in its shuttle program. She recalled the moment of joy these pictures capture: Standing in front of the towering mass of the shuttle Challenger, she smiles as she shoulders the camera she used to record the event.