Have you looked up lately?
Venus and Jupiter have been hanging out together, apparently closer than they’ve been since something like 2BC and you can spot them up there, just over the horizon, even though they are xxxxxxxxx miles away.
(Venus and Jupiter are actually about 670,130,000km apart, even though they’ve been looking only half-a-moon diameter apart. Our closet planetary neighbor, Venus is a mere 41,400,000 km from us, while Jupiter hangs out some 628,730,000km away).
The ‘romantic’ conjunction (as it’s called) of Venus and Jupiter happened just as we welcomed the second half of year. I taught a yoga class at midday, on the middle day of the week, which was also the middle day of the year (Wednesday 1st July). I couldn’t think of a better time to focus on balance!
And then the full moon followed the next day, in Cancer (my sign), and everything seemed illuminated by a new balanced perspective – at least I could find some sense of clarity in the countdown to my birthday this past weekend.
Then on the eve of my birthday, Venus was shining brighter than ever – she is the brightest object that appears in our night sky other than the moon, our sun and the international space station! I may have had my beer goggles on for a girl’s night out so I might have missed her!! Our sister planet will pass close by earth on August 15 – wave her hello.
This week we will see ‘close-up’ photos of Pluto for the first time (as the New Horizons space probe zooms within 7,800 miles of the dwarf planet). Already photos are revealing how tiny, frigid Pluto has a complex and mysterious surface. In its 9.5 year journey to photograph Pluto, the probe has travelled some 4.8 billion kilometres from earth, although when our orbits are farthest apart the distance separating us is as much as 7.5 billion kilometres.
Truth is I’m not really that into astronomy/astrology – I know we move with the movement of the planets, illuminated by the twinkles of so many stars and that we’re made of stardust too. I definitely feel the intimate connection to the cycles of our moon and sun (there’s a new moon this week – time for reinvention).
I surrender the rest to wonder and awe. To God, in other words.
We stargaze (or rather planet ponder) in wonder at Venus and Jupiter, all twin-like up in there in the inky black. We feel, as we should, rightly small. We see Venus shining bright but so small, and wonder how we must appear from Venus.
And we see our full moon as big and bright, even though we know it is so much smaller than the planets that seem so tiny and our sun that seems less significant.
As for Venus and Jupiter – well appearances can be deceptive. Turns out there’s some complex traffic movements up there in space and while it has looked like they are coming together, they are actually running away from each other!
And in case you haven’t caught up with the news (circa 2006 – not long after the New Horizons spacecraft left earth to seek it out) – Pluto is no longer a planet.
Yep, size does make a difference!
We understand that distance changes things – it’s all about our perception.
We understand that size, space and time are relative. But that knowledge doesn’t dampen our wonder and awe. Perhaps it deepens it.
So in that special kind of soul-searching you tend to do when birthdays roll around (let’s face it I’m in pretty much in permanent soul-searching mode), I’ve been looking up to the stars, out into the universe and into the universe within.
I’ve also been discovering that the Mnemonic device we used to remember the planets at school – something like MY VERY EASY METHOD JUST SPEEDS UP NAMING PLANETS has now been changed to MY VERY EDUCATED MOTHER JUST SERVED US NUTELLA or perhaps MY VERY EASY MOTHER JUST SAT ON UNCLE NED! See how deleting Pluto from the planetary line-up can mess things up!
And now they’ve also added in two other ‘dwarf planets’ Ceres and Eris (apparently) into the solar system family (although some say Pluto was plutoed and should get its official planetary status back).
Only time and the universe will tell!
Do you follow astronomy or astrology? Have you ever used mnemonic devices? Have you had a birthday in the last year (he, he)?
It seems we have much in common, as much as size and distance separate us. Kathy X
(PS – sorry I went AWOL for the holidays, did you miss me?)