Monday, February 13, 2017

The Evening Star

The cloud cover thwarted my view of the lunar eclipse over the weekend, and light pollution prevents me from getting a good look at Comet 45P, which approached closest to the earth on Saturday.

Major bummer, right? Anytime I plan to see something spectacular in the sky, conditions never cooperate. My best viewing has always been entirely random, when I spot something while taking out the trash late at night. I spot falling stars and once, the glow of the Northern Lights while taking out the trash. There’s something serendipitous about trash. And tonight was no exception!

Venus was burning bright on the western horizon, brighter than I’ve ever seen her before, with a pure, white light. I spotted Mars, much fainter, to the south of Venus. At first, I wasn’t certain that Comet 45P wasn’t putting on a show. But looking it up online…it is, indeed, Venus.

Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Maybe it’s appropriate that she’s showing up on the eve of Valentine’s Day?  Like Aphrodite, she was born from sea-foam, springing forth from the ocean as a fully-formed goddess. She’s always been associated with the element of water, with the universe of feelings that swim the undercurrent of that domain. She’s also associated with Ishtar, with making astrological journeys out of sight, into the underworld, and emerging again on the horizon, victorious. 

I stood for a little while out in my garden and soaked in some the starlight. Sometimes, when all is quiet in suburbia for a moment and the sky is glorious overhead, the signs in the sky feel like a blessing.  And a reminder that there are all kinds of sparkly movements going on overhead, out of sight, above, that cannot be seen from below. 


  1. My oldest daughter became transfixed by Venus a few weeks ago, it was shining so brightly - perhaps this was the same night! We were out for dinner and as soon as we got home we had to linger in the yard to look up and talk about it.

    1. It may have been! It has been so bright lately, even in the city. The first time I saw it, I waited for a few minutes, expecting it to be a helicopter and move! :-)