On Thursday morning, November 4th, just before sunrise, you can see the two brightest planets side by side. Near the eastern horizon, shining brighter than the brightest stars, Venus and Jupiter will be less than one degree apart.
Close encounters between Jupiter and Venus happen often enough, every year or so. Some, though, are better than others. For instance, on June 17, 2 B.C., the pair drew so near -- just 6 arcseconds (0.002 deg.) apart -- that they merged into a single dazzling point of light. Some scholars believe that was the Star of Bethlehem mentioned in the Bible.
[It is interesting to note that around the same time that the skies were in the configuration that some scholars believe they looked like when Our Lord was born, that Yasser Arafat was first reported as dead. Whether he is just "brain dead" or physically dead doesn't matter. The skies are telling us that someone of importance is being born as Arafat's life is being snuffed out.
Note that the planet Mars, the Roman god of war, is positioned in the birth area of the woman, Virgo. It is next to the star Spica/Al Zimach, "the branch or shoot."
Interesting things about Arafat:
He was the leader of the PLO for the past 40 years (40 years of probation for Israel)
He was born in Egypt (a type of pharaoh?)
He was born in Cairo and might stop there on his way to being buried in Israel (two Greek words for time in Scriptures: chronos= clock time and cairos=God's time)
Seven days after being taken to Paris for treatment (7 is the number of spiritual perfection) he's considered brain dead (he lost his mind)
He and his Nobel laureate "peace" partner Rabin died on the same day
I've also heard it said that his will states that he is to be buried on the Temple Mount. He might just get his wish but what he didn't realize when formulating this plan is that his body will probably be interred there but that will only happen if the Jews are allowed to build their Third Temple on the opposite side of the complex. Not exactly what he had in mind. ]
Doorstep Astronomy: Bright Morning Planets
By Joe Rao
SPACE.com's Night Sky Columnist
posted: 29 October, 2004
The first week of November will be an exceptional time for predawn skywatchers with a beautiful gathering of the two brightest planets, and the waning crescent Moon will later drop by to join them.
Venus and Jupiter will appear closest together on the mornings of Nov. 4 and 5.
The moment of closest approach will actually come during the early evening hours of Nov. 4, unfortunately when this dynamic duo is below the horizon for North America. They'll be separated by just over ½-degree, roughly the apparent width of the Moon (the width of your fist, held at arm's length roughly corresponds to 10 degrees).
Generally speaking, at least for the immediate future, conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter will come in pairs. The first conjunction takes place in the morning sky, usually followed about 10 months later by another in the evening sky.
Then 2½ years later, Venus and Jupiter are again in conjunction, again in the morning sky.
When Venus and Jupiter next get together, it will be in the evening sky late next summer, at the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Future Venus-Jupiter conjunctions
The table below shows future Venus-Jupiter pairings in the coming decade.
Nov. 4, 2004
Sep. 2, 2005
Feb. 1, 2008
Dec. 1, 2008
May 11, 2011
March 15, 2012
The closest approaches between these two planets come during the morning apparitions. So although their next conjunction comes about ten months from now, the next time Venus and Jupiter will appear as close together as they will this week, won't come until February 2008.
After Nov. 4, Venus and Jupiter will slowly separate, but there will still be one more eye-catching sight.
On the morning of Nov. 9, those who arise about 45 minutes before sunrise will be treated to a spectacular sight as Venus, Jupiter and the Moon the three brightest objects of the night sky form a stretched-out triangle, the Moon appearing closely above Jupiter.
Imagine the astrological significance that the ancients might have ascribed to a celestial summit meeting such as this!
As a bonus, the 1st-magnitude star Spica and the planet Mars barely miss being part of this assembly; look for them respectively about 17 and 22 degrees below the Moon if the sky is clear and dark enough. More on this morning spectacle in next week's Night Sky Friday.
November 4, 2004/20 Cheshvan 5765
September 2, 2005/28 Av 5765
February 1, 2008/25 Shevat 5768
December 1, 2008/4 Kislev 5769
May 11, 2011/7 Iyyar, 5771
March 15, 2012/21 Adar 5772
1921 - The Sturmabteilung or SA (stormtroopers) is formally formed by Adolf Hitler
1922 - In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men find the entrance to King Tutankhamen's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
1979 - Iran hostage crisis begins: Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the United States embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (63 of whom are American).
1995 - After attending a peace rally in Tel Aviv's Kings Square, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is mortally wounded by an extreme right-wing Israeli assassin. He dies of his wounds later that night in a Tel Aviv Hospital.
2003 - The largest ever solar flare is recorded. (X28)
Births: 1946 - Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States
Deaths: 2004 Yasser Arafat reportedly "brain dead"; winner of Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Peres. Rabin dies 9 years earlier on the same day.
31 BC - Roman Civil War: Battle of Actium - Off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeat troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Republic ends, Roman Empire begins
1945 - World War II ends: The final official surrender of Japan was accepted by General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
1969 - The first automatic teller machine in the United States is installed in Rockville Centre, New York.
Deaths: 421 - Constantius III, Roman Emperor
1964 - Alvin York, most decorated American soldier of World War I
1790 - In New York City the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
1958 - Merger of Egypt and Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.
1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back into Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.
2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas upon reentry killing all seven astronauts onboard.
Deaths: 1947 - Aleister Crowley
1949 - Israel joins the United Nations.
1960 - In Buenos Aires four Israeli Mossad agents abduct fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who was using the assumed name Ricardo Klement.
44 BC - Ides of March: Julius Caesar, General of the Roman Republic, was assassinated by a group of Roman senators.
1545 - First meeting of the Council of Trent
1922 - After Egypt gains nominal independence from the United Kingdom, Fuad I becomes King of Egypt.
1990 - Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first executive president of the Soviet Union.
1991 - Germany formally regains complete independence after the four post-World War II occupying powers (France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union) relinquish all remaining rights.
2004 - Announcement of the Discovery of 90377 Sedna
Summary - (Oct 29, 2004) As the Earth rushes to the point in its orbit known as the Winter Solstice, those in the Northern hemisphere see the days getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. This is good news for sky watchers, especially those willing to rise before dawn. This November offers a chance to witness a beautiful and somewhat rare sight, a close conjunction between the planets Venus and Jupiter.
Full Story - A planetary conjunction occurs when two or more planets appear to be very close together in the night sky as seen from Earth. Conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter are fairly common, occurring as often as three times a year. But on the morning of November 5th, just before dawn, Venus and Jupiter will be less than one degree apart in the sky in the constellation of Virgo the Maiden. A degree is about the width of one finger held at arms distance. The pair will be at their closest at 1:58 UTC on the 5th, when they are 33 arc-minutes apart, or about 0.42 degrees.
This year's conjunction is rare for two reasons. First, the two planets are less than one degree apart; and second, they are more than fifteen degrees from the sun. Large number conjunctions, such as the one that occurred in 1995, are less than fifteen degrees from the sun and therefore lost in the sun's glare. The conjunction on November 5th is also special because it is the last close conjunction between Venus and Jupiter until September 1st 2005.
A conjunction very much like the one occurring on the 5th occurred in August of the year 3 B.C. This historic conjunction occurred on August 12th at 03:00 UTC and was widely visible from the Middle East. That year Venus and Jupiter were only 10 arc-minutes or 0.16 degrees apart in the constellation of Leo the Lion. With such a narrow separation, light reflected from the two would seem to merge into one as seen with the unaided eye.
Some scholars have speculated that this close conjunction may have been interpreted as a sign by a group known as the Magi. The Magi, or wise men, were priests of an ancient religion known as Zoroastrianism. Could this close conjunction have been what sent the wise men traveling to a far of city known as Bethlehem? Unfortunately we can't draw any definitive conclusions. There are no known written records that tell exactly what the Magi saw, or how they interpreted it.
Regardless of what the Magi saw, modern computer software confirms that there was a very close conjunction between Venus and Jupiter in the year 3 B.C. The conjunction of 2004, while not as close, should be no less spectacular sight in the sky. Telescope or binocular users should have no difficulty fitting both planets into one field of view. This conjunction is also an excellent opportunity for aspiring (or seasoned) astro-photographers.
Exposures of from 1/15s to 1/60s are good for those using SLR's with standard 50mm lenses. A zoom lens of 180mm can reduce the required shutter speed to a range of 1/60s to 1/250s depending on conditions. But as with any kind of astro-photography, the key is multiple exposures at various shutter speeds and apertures.
A planetary conjunction is a rare and beautiful sight. Because Venus and Jupiter are both so bright in the sky, the Venus-Jupiter conjunction of 2004 should not be missed. With a little imagination we can transport ourselves back in time to the Middle Eastern Skies before the Common Era, when a bright conjunction dominated the pre-dawn skies.
Rod Kennedy is a technician and education outreach coordinator at the Casper Planetarium, Wyoming's first planetarium. He received his Chemistry degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and has been interested in astronomy for 10 years.
Please be advised that this domain (Philologos.org) does not
endorse 100 per cent any link contained herein. This forum is for the
dissemination of pertinent information on an end-times biblical theme which
includes many disturbing, unethical, immoral, etc. topics and should be viewed
with a mature, discerning eye.