Are you like me, fascinated with the heavens and the sparkling, twinkling orbs that make our night sky so spectacular? Did you know last weekend there was a very rare occurrence in the Friday night sky? A triple-billed, star-studded event — a space trifecta — was the convergence of a penumbral lunar eclipse, a full “snow moon,” and a green-streaking comet all happening during the same night. Binoculars or telescope viewing afforded even better than the predicted visual splendor. By all accounts, it was quite a show.
The “star” of the event was the comet, identified as 45P, which made its closest approach to Earth in more than 30 years. While still remaining some 7 million miles away, even at that distance it proved to be the show-stopper in the triple-astral display.
A vivid green streak lit up the sky. Slooh's Worldwide System of Telescopes recorded its progress and streamed it live Friday night. If you missed it, never fear. You can watch Comet 45P’s streak across the heavens in a video posted on Slooh’s Facebook page.
There was a second star-studded event last weekend. On Sunday evening, the annual Grammy Awards Show aired. The glitz, glitter and glam of the music industry's superstars were on display in megawatt glory. Rather than the space trifecta of Friday night, a dynamic duo of female talent brightly shone throughout the production.
Grabbing most of the attention, Adele and Beyoncé went head-to-head competing in the big three categories: album of the year, record of the year and song of the year. While Adele shut out Beyoncé in each category, she lauded the undisputed diva of this generation almost ad-nausea. But it was Beyoncé’s golden-haloed and shimmering, baby-bump highlighting costume that proved to be the show stopper of Sunday’s celestial observance.
The night sky still thrills me, and I’m still a huge fan of all types of music. But the two sparkling spectacular occurrences last weekend gives me pause. Man has looked to the heavens not only to see the beauty therein, but for answers to philosophical, theological and scientific questions that have plagued us since the beginning of time.
The spender and vastness have provided the backdrop for cultural legends and myths.
Today it seems paparazzi gossip constitutes the legends of tomorrow. I fear our celebrity-worshiping culture has many looking to “super stars” instead of the celestial ones for the answers to many of life’s questions.
True confession time: I saw neither of the stargazing events of last weekend, yet I am still awed when looking to the heavens, and my unfaltering love of music is not diminished. But the events did make me wonder how future generations will view this time of ours. Will we produce great legends — tales of dreamers creating cyberspace in their garages perhaps?
It’s probably my age, but I choose to look to the nighttime stars for inspiration.