Nature's fireworks: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Jul 3, 2017

The telescope with which Galileo first looked into the night sky, which led to the discovery of the Moon so f Jupiter. Jupiter and Saturn dominate the evening sky all summer.

The goddess and love and beauty graces the morning sky all season, leaving the fireworks to the evening sky, where the father and son gas giants dominate the night.

These two giants are Jupiter and Saturn, the largest and furthest visible to us with the naked eye of all the planets in our system. 

Because Saturn is furthest away from us, the planet was always regarded as the keeper of the boundaries of time. Saturn takes 28 years to orbit the Sun, so the rhythm of Saturn was used to understand the course of the human life.

Jupiter is by far the brighter of the two planets, is much larger than Saturn, and takes only 12 years to complete its orbit of the Sun. Unlike Saturn, who was regarded as the Father Time with dominion over all things past, Jupiter was linked to all things pertaining to the future.

These two planets come together in the same place in the zodiac once every 20 years. This is called a “great conjunction” and it will happen next in December of 2020. And according to the folks at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State, this coming conjunction will bring the two planets closer together than they have been since the time of 17th century Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei.

Among other things, Galileo is noted for being the first human being to look into the night sky with a telescope, which means he was also the first human being to see the Moons of Jupiter!

Galileo’s name derives from Galilee, birth place of the Christ Child. This is interesting right now, because some researchers hypothesize that the Christmas Star followed by the three wise men of the East was actually a great conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter ~ Saturn representing all that was necessitated by the past; Jupiter representing its fulfillment in the promise of a future that could only be realized once these two met in great conjunction.

Watch the giants all week and all summer as they slowly march toward their next conjunction, to see what’s stirring in Nature’s Fireworks!