Stars aligning (HLD 264)

11 Dec 2020

I saved an article from a few days ago, which I thought would be of deep significance to my husband, and I’m nothing if not a thoughtful wife.

But in case I forget to mention it to him, I’ll write a bit of literary diarrhoea about it, and if he denies all knowledge of me letting him know about it, I’ve got witnesses.

Apparently, according to people who know this sort of stuff, there is a ‘once in 400 year’ event happening on 21st December – Jupiter and Saturn are due to line up.

My husband has this year come into possession of a fancy telescope, so I figure this should be a perfect opportunity for him to spend the evening heading up to some nice dark spot in the hills somewhere to observe this amazing happening. I could go with him, as a kind caring wife, of course, but more likely I’ll have something else to do. Maybe shopping, maybe wrapping Christmas presents, or maybe just sitting on the couch silently pleased to not be sitting in the hills getting eaten by mosquitos while observing….

A single star.

Because when stars align, even though it’s a once in a lifetime event and you should all rush out to see it and so forth, all you are actually going to see…is one star.*

Because they’re aligned. Of all the millions of stars you can observe on that particular night, there will be one less, because two of them are going to align.

Wow.

Ok so there’s probably heaps of stars that align every night, but Jupiter and Saturn don’t do it that often.

I’m starting to sound a little like the Grinch of star gazing here, aren’t I?

Ok – so it might be a significantly brighter star than usual, on account of the glow of one star shining from behind the other. That could be relatively interesting to walk outside and look up and say “Yep, that’s bright”. But is it worth carting the telescope and the insect repellant, and the possible wet/warm/cool weather clothing that may be required, for a drive into a darker place so that the star may appear even brighter or clearer???

I remember a number of years ago there was a fellow who flew around the world in a hot air balloon. He landed in WA, but in the final hours of his journey he was due to fly basically along the Swan River. We tracked his flight intently so we could find the best viewing spot and time, and when he did eventually fly over…we walked maybe twenty metres from our front door, and had an excellent view.

Another time there was a meteor shower that we headed out to the coast (reported to be prime viewing spot) to watch, and didn’t see a thing. We got annoyed and drove home only to see the meteor shower from our driveway.

When the stars align for you to see something, whether it’s stars aligning or shooting across the sky, or some old bloke on a balloon, you’ll see it.

Are you going to go outside somewhere on the 21st and see the once in a 400 year celestial event?

* Yes – I am aware that Jupiter and Saturn are planets. But ‘when stars align’ sounds better 🙂

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