Venus is making ready to slip into the arms of her beloved Mars in the morning sky, with Mercury standing by as witness, while Jupiter is slipping lower and lower into the evening twilight at the other end of the day, following Saturn out of sight. What can we make of this?
Once Jupiter drops out of view later this month, there will be no more evening sky planets for awhile ~ only stars when we look west across the Earth after sunset ~ all the way until August.
Sure, we’ll have the Moon passing through the West each month, and occasionally Mercury will pop up to see what’s brewing over the sunset edge of the world, but from Jupiter’s setting this month until August, there will basically be no planets in the sky at the end of the day. This doesn’t always happen, so it’s worth paying attention to.
And by paying attention what I mean is imagine, it’s just us at the end of the day, for weeks on end, crafting our “happily ever afters” as best we can, with only an occasional trickster god to mediate as the link between humanity and the stars.
I asked my poet friend Peter Rennick to imagine such a thing, to which he replied:
Now we come to the dumbest
Darkest nights of the year
When all the planets huddle
On the other side of the earth
Hidden in the cradle of the sun
And only a handful of icy stars
Shiver above the moony lake
At last we’re left on our own
To cross these darkest depths
This no-man’s-land of dreams
Like candles without flames
To the land of the unborn
To the light of the farthest star
Each of us sailing to rescue
Our own individual dawn.
To your happily ever after!
Image above from Sky&Telescope.