Astronomy | Poetry | Seasons | Stargazing

Planets Dancing

“in other breaking news
a silver moon
sailed
above the world
and the only ones
who knew it
were the ones who looked up”
– Kat Lehmann, Small Stones From The River

The skies cleared in New England after a day of heavy snow, allowing the few who ventured outside to see the waxing crescent moon looking like a giant in the western sky. A bit further along in their dip towards the western horizon was the equally stunning dance of Jupiter and Saturn. They’re slowly moving towards each other for the “Great Conjunction” on December 21st. Last night the moon was at 10% illumination, giving Jupiter and Saturn the spotlight. The three together made for a magical picture.

I witnessed this dance across a field that cows graze on during the day, on days when it isn’t coated in snow. Last night the cows were huddled in their barn and the field sloped down towards the west, giving a wonderful view of the dance. I wonder if the cows took turns sneaking a peak through the barn door at this once in a lifetime event? Probably not. Most humans pay no attention, who can expect a cow to grasp the significance?

Monday, December 21st seems to be trending towards rain and cloud cover. That’s par for the 2020 course, as we seem to have cloud cover for most of the celestial events this year. So maybe having the opportunity to witness something that hasn’t occurred at night since the year 1220 will be next to impossible here in New Hampshire. But we can hope for clear skies, for we’ll never see it again in our lifetimes.

I wonder why more people aren’t lining the roads in wonder at the universe. But every day is a once in a lifetime event for each of us. Maybe we’re used to squandering moments? And maybe the world is too complex and broken for such things as great conjunctions. But I’d like to think that, maybe, they just haven’t looked up yet.

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