Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Star light, star bright

First star I see tonight.
Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

Bad news. It probably isn't a star that you're seeing. However, it totally rocks to see the sky tonight. Fortunately, Army of Dad sent me this article about how tonight a slender crescent moon, just 15percent illuminated, would appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter. Totally freaking cool. All three of my kids went to give it a look. The two youngest were mesmerized. Hot Rod grabbed a journal, pen and a chair to sit outside and write his observations. Seriously. My 9-year-old. *wiping tears from my eyes*

According to the article, sunlight is responsible for the slender crescent, yet the remainder of the moon appears to shine with a dim blush-gray tone. (this was cool. You could see the whole moon; just the majority of it was a dark circle) That part is not receiving sunlight, but shines by virtue of reflected earthlight: the nearly full Earth illuminating the otherwise dark lunar landscape. So earthshine is really sunlight which is reflected off Earth to the moon and then reflected back to Earth.

Keep in mind that this head-turning display of three celestial objects crowded together will be merely an illusion of perspective: the moon will be only about 251,400 miles from Earth, while Venus is nearly 371 times farther away, at 93.2 million miles. Meanwhile, Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than our natural satellite at 540.3 million miles. (how freaking cool is that?)

Such favorable circumstances are quite rare for any given location. For example, the last time London was treated to such a favorably placed Venus occultation such was back on Oct. 7, 1961. And after 2008, there will not be another similarly favorable Venus occultation for the United Kingdom until Jan. 10, 2032. (wow! I called my neighbor - the teacher - and she came out with her three kids, too. They were loving it, as well.)

Wow. Space is so cool. I'm sure someday, Hot Rod will be orbiting the Earth while forecasting weather in the off-season. :) Pickle will be creating artwork of the occasion and Little Bit will write and perform a song about it. It's cool to be their mom.


  • At 5:09 AM, December 02, 2008, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Another story about the event:

    This one associates the "star" with the Bethlehem star. Pretty neat.

  • At 11:40 AM, December 02, 2008, Blogger El Capitan said…

    I sat out in the parking lot after work last night and watched it for a while. I hope the sky is as clear tonight as it was last night.

  • At 11:56 PM, December 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Me and the kiddos saw it in the country (outside of Hico) without any city lights. It was awesome!

  • At 8:29 AM, December 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you! I was seeing when I was at work. I asked someone if it was Venus and Mars, or Mercury and Mars. They didn't know. Now I can tell him its Jupiter and Venus.
    You're just a plethera of infomation. Dion


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