Today marks the winter solstice, the year’s shortest day and longest night in the Northern Hemisphere. In true 2020 fashion, it is no ordinary solstice. Tonight is a historic astronomical event. The Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn occurs in the constellation of Aquarius. These planets last met in the Water Bearer’s realm in the 1400s. Astronomer Patrick Hartigan, professor of physics and astronomy at Houston’s Rice University, says, “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”
From earth, the two giant gas spheres will appear a mere 0.1º apart. Their alignment is so tight they’ll appear as a single star, earning this conjunction the nickname “The Christmas Star.” This singular lifetime occurrence will be discernible with your naked eyes. It is best observed slightly above the southwestern horizon, 45 minutes after sunset.
Throughout history, humans search the vast heavens for meaning, hope, and confirmation the world continues turning. We seek assurances that light dispels darkness, and winter naturally yields to summer. We find immense relief believing suffering and pain are the prerequisites for a joyous reward.
Where do you find signs of comfort?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer