27 January 2011

Celestial Companions in the Cold Dark Morning

January mornings are dark times, and when the sky is clear it is certain to be chilly outside. So I find the sight of the old Moon reassuring, a warm light that fades a bit each successive morning and guides the way through bright stars and planets along the ecliptic to the soon-to-be-rising-Sun. You can see this spectacle at its finest the next few mornings as the Moon moves a bit further eastward each day and passes near to some distinct celestial companions.

The Moon is passing now through Scorpius and the grey-white of the Moon stands in stark contrast to the red-orange of the star at the heart of the Scorpion, Antares. Moving close to Antares on Friday morning, the Moon continues toward the brilliant planet Venus on Saturday morning, and then slowly fades into the glare of sunrise on Sunday morning. My kitchen window faces south-east so I see this changing landscape each morning and I look forward to the coming days with clear skies in the forecast. If you rise before sunrise, take a moment to look out toward the south-east and enjoy the calm of this morning celestial grouping of close companions in the heavens.

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