Monday Musings for 12.7.20
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
There is something in the night sky that will be getting our attention more and more, the closer we get to Christmas. It’s not in the East; it’s in the West. And it’s not a star; it’s a planet. Actually two planets. Jupiter and Saturn. But some think a similar, rare conjunction of planets may be what the wise men actually saw.
Our skies have been clear and, with apologies to our skiers, I hope they stay that way. Look west and slightly south as soon as it gets dark. You can’t miss them. Jupiter is the brighter of the two. If you look too soon, you will miss the fainter Saturn. If you look too late, both will have set over the horizon. You have about an hour of good viewing. Thank goodness this is not one of those celestial displays you have to get up at 4 am to see!
Look tonight and they are close enough to get your attention. But then every night the show gets better. Until December 21 when they are as close to each other as 1/5 the diameter of the moon. (It will appear that way to us. Actually they will be about 450 million miles apart.)
The last time they were this close (and visible) was March 4. Remember? No, wait. March 4, 1226. You probably don’t remember.
If it’s cloudy or snowing on December 21, don’t give up. You have from December 16 to 25 to see them closer to each other than the diameter of the moon.
The next time they will be this close will be March 15, 2080. They will be in the morning sky then. One of the articles I read said this:
Parents can show Jupiter and Saturn to their young kids and tell them, “Sixty years from now, when I’m long gone, go out in the morning sky, look at this conjunction, and think of me.”
Doubtful. In 2080 it’s going to be one of those 4 am things. I doubt very much that many of us have children or grandchildren who will be out of bed that early.