3 yellow roses

Spectacular Sights in the Heavens

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Going to be anywhere away from the city lights, at sea, on a mountain or in the desert, near the end of this month? Here is something you might like to observe.

In late April and early May, when the planets line up, they will not be arranged behind one another or the Sun. Instead, they will present a beautiful line across the sky from horizon to near zenith. For a period of a little more than three weeks, anyone looking west at sunset will be able to see the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.

A few hours later at 4 A.M., armed with a large-size amateur telescope, they can continue their grand tour by observing Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, a few wandering asteroids and maybe even Comet Ikeya-Zhang in the east. Finally, by quickly glancing down at the ground, they will have completed their grand tour of the solar system.

"Seeing nine worlds in just one night is something few astronomers can say they've accomplished," waxes Sadler. "I can't wait to do it myself!"

Even more amazing, two very special events will occur during this planetary line-up. On May 10, the planets Mars and Venus will appear to pass so close to one another that, to the naked eye, the Roman God of War and the Roman Goddess of Love will become one.

Earlier, on May 5, something even more spectacular will happen. The bright planets Mars, Saturn and Venus will group together to form a perfect equilateral triangle in the western sky. This dazzling configuration will be visible almost everywhere on Earth. In the Middle East, this pyramid-shaped specter will hang directly above Bethlehem.

Oddly enough, more than 2,000 years ago, this same grouping of planets may have caught the attention of the Biblical Magi. On April 1, 2 B.C., the planets Mars, Saturn and Venus came together to form a perfect equilateral triangle over the city of Bethlehem. Now, in the 21st Century, amid the turmoil taking place in the Middle East, the ancient Roman gods of Love, War and Agriculture/Wisdom, are coming together to look down upon this war-ravaged landscape once again.

Nothing like it will occur again in our lifetime. At the very least, it presents a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to come together and share an experience beyond the daily routine. It also may be an opportunity to ponder our fragile existence on this tiny blue world racing around an ordinary yellow star with eight other planetary companions and maybe help us, just a little bit, bring our own world back into perspective.

[Note: This appears to be a news item that got passed around a few years ago, if you discover the original source, do let me know]

row of pink and gold roses
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Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One

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