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Sunday, May 26, 2013

176: ALIGNMENT OF THE PLANETS: A CELESTIAL SHOW

 
"Three planets are coming together in the evening sky this weekend, putting on a celestial show that won't be seen again for more than a decade."
 
 
Tonight if the weather is clear, it will be possible to see an alignment of the planets: Jupiter, Venus and Mercury in the western horizon. They'll form the tightest grouping that won't be see until 2026. The celestial show peaks tonight, Sunday, May 26, 2013, when  these three planets will appear as a bright triangle of light in the western sky beginning about 30 minutes after sunset. Venus and Jupiter are the two brightest planets in the solar system. They've been aligning and  approaching each other in the evening sky for weeks, and faint Mercury is now joining them, appearing below and to the right of Venus.
 
Why is this so usual? There's a legend/tradition that Copernicus (the astronomer who formulated the heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center.) never saw the planet Mercury in his life. Whether that is true or not, Mercury is a tough planet to spot because it never gets very far from the sun. Tonight would be the best night to see it. Below is a photo I took last night. There was a brief moment that I was able to see all three planets before the cloud coverage. 
 
 
I think there is some beautiful symbolism in this alignment. First of all, Venus is the female symbol. The mother whose functions encompassed love, beauty, fertility and prosperity. Jupiter is a male symbol. In Greek theology, Jupiter is the reigning God, Zeus. Both of these planets have been coming together closer for weeks, and now this weekend...the planet Mercury appears below them, possibly a symbol of a son. It is interesting that Mercury was named after the winged messenger of the gods. These three planets (Father, Mother, son or messenger) will create an inverted triangle pointing toward earth.

Zoomed up photo of the planet taken last night.