Celestial superlatives abound: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Nov 27, 2017

Young stars in the nebula M78 in the Orion region exhibit extreme heat like the passionate romance of young lovers.

Every once in awhile we arrive at a week of celestial superlatives, and this week that straddles the end of November and beginning of December is just such a one. Mercury has recently moved as far away from the Sun it can get, just as the star that marks the Bull’s Eye comes to opposition, and the Moon comes to Full Phase closer to the Earth than any other Full Moon of 2017. What can we make of such a configuration?

So Mercury is the fleet-footed messenger, and while now apparently as far away from the Sun as possible, the messenger is also appearing quite near the ancient guardian of time, Saturn. These two planets can be seen low in the west after sunset this week.  

The Bull’s Eye star Aldebaran, in the constellation Taurus, is simultaneously rising up in the east, exactly opposite the Sun.  This seems to suggest that now is the time for time-tested communications that make their mark, whether for good or ill. And with the waxing Moon weighing closely in on the scene, these communications could stir up the emotions!

In casting about for a story that might best relate to this configuration, I considered ones in which a communication, or particularly, a missed communication, played a significant part. Perhaps the most famous of this type of tale is William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.  

Shakespeare’s inspiration for the tragedy came from a poem by Arthur Brooke, written at least 30 years before Shakespeare’s first appeared in 1596. Brooke was an unknown English poet who was lost in a shipwreck, and his poem, “The Tragic History of Romeo and Juliet”, was rooted in a tale from as early as the second century AD.  The enduring nature of the story, even into our own time, is a keen testament to how we all feel the tragic folly of love superseded. 

When he shall die, speaks Juliet, take him, and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world with be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.

With Aldebaran as the star that marks your goal this week, and the Moon, the messenger and the time guardian as witnesses, make your communications count!