Clear Sky, Two Planets, Two Old Humans

We just came in from looking at the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the closest they will appear from Earth for another 800 years when–needless to say–two 75+ year olds aren’t going to be here to look.   We stood by the south barn lot fence in the back yard, resting binoculars on the fence because our hand aren’t as steady as they used to be, feeling each other’s warmth on this chilly evening and sharing the joy we’ve always felt while seeing interesting things in nature.  Which is a cold dull way of saying it, but I’m still “star-struck.”

No matter what messes we humans make of this planet, Jupiter and Saturn will move on in their orbits, and the solar system will move on as a whole, and in 800 years, if anyone is still living near here,  and the sky is clear, they may noticed another such conjunction.   800  years ago, in 1220 C.E.,  the Magna Carta was five years old.  King Henry III ruled England (a king who had two coronations, because the Pope didn’t approve of the first one.)  Samarkand fell to the Mongols who under Genghis Khan would eventually rule from China west to the Caspian Sea, even displacing Islam for a time.  In what became the US, the Mississippian culture dominated the southeast–the Mound-Builders were expanding and thriving.  In the Southwest, the Pueblan and Hohokam cultures were doing well.   In Central America, the great Mayan cities were empty–devastating drought had destroyed the food supply–but in South America the Inca culture was growing and spreading…Cuzco had been founded a hundred years before.   So, 800 years hence on this planet?  Who knows…none of us, for sure.   But astronomical cycles suggest a longer view than most of us achieve day by day.

If you have clear skies in the next few days, I strongly recommend going somewhere you can see them (local conditions vary–if a mountain blocks your view to the SW, you’ll need to go somewhere else.  Same with large buildings.)

7 thoughts on “Clear Sky, Two Planets, Two Old Humans

  1. Yes, we watched too, from SE England. There are some amazing photos circulating from those whose skills encompass night sky photography. Seeing the shapes of Jupiter and Saturn as clear as anything up there. It’s like watching the bees in one of my hives – they don’t know about all the human-created crap going on around them, they just get on with things as they always do. Long may they do so.

  2. I’m told tonight will be the best night for seeing it – so, naturally, thick, thick clouds and rain! No chance! Par for the course in a country whose Christmas has just been cancelled…..

    1. Clouds and more clouds here after a brilliantly sunny day…but late afternoon here they came. However, since I was late feeding the critters, I got to see a very red sun just showing beneath a purple cloud edged with orange. Wow!

  3. Sadly since we moved to a city in the rain shadow of the Pennines we rarely get to see astronomical phenomena, and tonight looks to be no exception. But I’m keeping an eye on the weather and hoping we get at least one clear spell over the next few nights.

    1. I’m really glad we saw it Sunday, because last night and tonight were cloudy here. NORTH Texas was crystal clear, we were told. But we did see it on the 20th, so I’m happy. Wouldn’t have minded getting the old Questar out to look again on the day, but…

  4. I was able to see it three nights, 20, 21, and 22; fascinating how it’s changing each night. We are so far west that I have to go look soon after dark because within a couple of hours after sunset, the planets are below the horizon. Today is windy and cloudy so I probably won’t be able to see it tonight.

    1. Glad you could see it three times in a row. That must’ve been fun. We saw it one other evening (can’t remember which…but several days before the 20th) so the change in the distance between them was obvious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.