27 August 2016 – Astro-Weather:
Venus-Jupiter conjunction*. Starting about 20 minutes after sunset, look low above the horizon due west (left of where the Sun went down). The two planets will be less than ½° apart at the time of twilight for most of the world. That’s so close that you may need binoculars to see that they are two objects, not one!
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ~George Orwell
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
348 – Ulfilas devised the Gothic alphabet & translated the Bible from Greek into the Gothic language
410 – The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ends after three days
1730 – Birthday of Johann Georg Hamann, ‘the Magnus of the North –A German philosopher, whose work was used by his student J. G. Herder as a main support of the Sturm und Drang movement. Goethe & Kierkegaard considered him to be the finest mind of his time
1770 – Birthday of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a German philosopher of “absolute idealism” described a “Protestant Aquinas – the originator of the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad along with Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Hegel has influenced many thinkers & writers- the philosophies of Marx & Nietzsche, phenomenology, German existentialism, & psychoanalysis
1813 – French Emperor Napoleon I defeats a larger force of Austrians, Russians, & Prussians at the Battle of Dresden
1832 – Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk tribe of Native Americans, surrenders to U.S. authorities, ending the Black Hawk War
1859 – Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well
1881 – The Georgia hurricane makes landfall near Savannah, Georgia, resulting in an estimated 700 deaths
1883 – Eruption of Krakatoa: Four enormous explosions destroy the island of Krakatoa & cause years of climate change
1893 – The Sea Islands hurricane strikes the United States near Savannah, Georgia, killing an estimated 1,000-2,000 people
1916 – The Kingdom of Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary, entering World War I as one of the Allied nations
1924 – Introduction of the Michael sign by Rudolf Steiner after a breach of the mantras from the 1st Class of the School of Spiritual Science in London
1942 – Sarny Massacre – the execution of 18,000 people mostly Jews, in the Nazi-occupied city of Sarny, then part of Poland, on August 27 – 28, 1942
1962 – The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission is launched to Venus by NASA
1963 – Deathday of W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, & activist
1975 – Deathday of Haile Selassie, Ethiopian emperor
1991 – Moldova declares independence from the USSR
2003 – Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years
2011 – Hurricane Irene strikes the United States east coast, killing 77 & causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage
My POD (Poem Of the Day)
~Looking at my shadow against the curtain –
It moves as I do. It’s hands are mine
I clap them & stamp my feet
Making my shadow dance
Asking: Is the darkness all I have to fear?
It might seem odd to talk about the Star of Bethlehem during the month of August, instead of in December, when we recount the story of three wise men guided to the birthplace of the Matthew Jesus child, by a bright object in the sky.
There have been numerous possible ‘scientific’ explanations of what the Star of Bethlehem may have been. One of those proposed possibilities will play out in the night sky tonight after sundown (Aug. 27, 2016): an exceedingly close encounter between the two brightest planets, Venus & Jupiter.
Two planets coming this close together makes for a very striking sight.
It must be remembered that the Chaldeans who occupied Mesopotamia 2,000 years ago were astute observers of the night sky & were very familiar with the motions of the sun, moon & planets. They would never simply mistake something like the bright star Sirius or a bright planet as being something out of the ordinary. These ancient stargazers were much better acquainted with the stars & constellations than anyone in our 21st century world. But if something very rare took place in the sky, the ancient skywatchers would have noticed it immediately.
Tonight’s Venus-Jupiter encounter is one of those rare events, & something similar appeared in the sky more than 20 centuries ago.
Taken literally, the biblical account of the story of the Star of Bethlehem calls for not one, but two “stars.” One to be seen at the start of the Magi’s journey, while the other appearing to them upon their arrival in Bethlehem.
Interestingly, in August of 3 B.C., Venus & Jupiter were prominent in the predawn eastern sky, & on Aug. 12 B.C. they came within just 0.15 degrees of each other as seen from the Middle East. Incidentally, this sign would have been seen “in the east,” explaining the phrase in the Book of Matthew.
Ten months later, Venus & Jupiter got together again for an even more spectacular encore on June 17, 2 B.C., when at sundown from Babylonia they were separated by just 0.01 degrees, (just like tonight!!!) right above the western horizon as the sky grew dark.
The two planets could have appeared to coalesce into a single “star” somewhat brighter than Venus alone.
The fact that Jupiter & Venus had such a close conjunction at this time in history has led some people to theorize that it could be an explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. Not quite Astrosophy, but interesting none-the-less.
It certainly will be interesting to see what kind of spectacle Venus & Jupiter will offer this evening. Unfortunately, unlike 2,000 years ago, seeing the two planets will be a bit of a challenge. Skywatchers who wish to observe the event should make sure they have a clear view of the western horizon, with no tall obstructions, like trees or buildings, to block the view.
In other parts of the world, Venus & Jupiter will appear to come quite close to each other, though not quite as close as NY viewers will see them.
To appreciate just how often Venus & Jupiter come so close together, we have to go as far back as Nov. 14. 1660. Our next opportunity will come on the morning of Nov. 22, 2065, when Venus & Jupiter will be merged together as one brilliant singular point of light as they rise above the east-southeast horizon just before sunrise.
See you then
Blessings & Peace ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg