Thanks to Kindra remembering, we stepped out to the porch Tuesday evening to see the Jupiter and Saturn form the Great Conjunction, aka the Christmas Star.
Kindra and I had read reports, which we both knew to be true and factually correct because they were on Facebook, that this same conjunction of two big planets created the Star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to Jesus.
Although these two planets conjunct, if that is acceptable to say, about every 20 years, they haven’t been this close to Earth since March 5, 1226.
(To digress, there is a Bluegrass Christmas song called Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. Kindra commented that the Bluegrass singers say “Beth-lee-hem,” which sounded right to my rural Pontotoc County ears. She alleges it should be “Beth-luh-hem.”
It’s the difference between growing up in Shawnee and in Fitzhugh, I suppose. I encourage you and your spouse and loved ones to explore this difference in pronunciation, perhaps over Christmas dinner.)
When we hit the porch, the planets were coollooking, but not quite lined up like I expected.
Saturn was offset a little bit, which I read afterward was because of our geography.
Still, it was interesting, if only because Genghis Khan was alive the last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close to our plant.
I never had much of a jones for astronomy, but we have quite a bit of dark sky where we live, especially to the north, and I like to spend a few minutes every now and then staring at the stars.
In 2017, daughter Brittany engineered a trip for my tribe to Missouri to experience the totality of the eclipse that was visible in North America.
It was one of the defining experience of my life, watching day turn to night for several minutes and then return.
Since then, I pause a little more often to look at the night sky and wonder about the planets and stars hurtling through space, sticking to their orbits and the paths set for them.
I find it helps keep things in perspective and evens out the lows and highs to be reminded of how we fit into the greater scheme.