Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Morning spectacle

I'm not a morning person.

Okay, maybe that's a bit of an understatement. I loathe mornings. Despise 'em. Detest them with a passion usually reserved to animal rights activists towards the cosmetics industry or the relationship between Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper.

But the weather people are calling for clear skies this week. Which means I might just have to, as some of my Facebook friends are fond of saying, "suck it up, buttercup!"

You see, there's some interesting goings-on in our eastern sky these mornings. Mercury, Venus and Saturn have been doing a little planetary dosey-doe with Saturn rising up from it's passage behind the sun to greet the descending Mercury and Venus. Well, Saturn is now passing Venus to within a single binocular field of view for the next few days.

To make things even more interesting, a very thin crescent moon joins the celestial tableau Thursday and Friday mornings. All of this visible less than an hour before sunrise.

These types of groupings are hardly unique, nor are they terribly "significant" in the way that astrologers, etc., would like you to believe. However, they are great because they present great opportunities to delve into the "3D" nature of our solar system.

Consider this...the moon is roughly about 320,000 kms from us. Venus, however, is over 120 million. And Saturn over a billion. To say these scales boggle the mind is a little like saying lightning is going to give you a "jolt!"

So now I'm thinking, there may be a good reason to get up in the morning. But if I do and the weather people are wrong, take note. I'll be...um...VERY annoyed!

Clear skies!

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