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Dec 25, 2020
It was 800 years ago, that humans got to see this. Jupiter and Saturn are millions of miles apart but every 20 years they appear to us on earth as getting close. Every 400 years they get to within one degree of each other. To most people that means they will look like one star. Just 17 years after the telescope was invented in 1623 it happened but the event happened too close in appearance to the sun for humans to see it. So here were are 800 years since this has been seen.
I set up my camera on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon. The Moon was high in the blue evening sky and beautiful so I got some nice photos of it as I set up.
I was hoping for some nice landscape shots but I was so focused on the planets, I didn't get much in that way. I did have two cameras running.
My trusty Pentax was busy doing a time-lapse. Here is a YouTube video showing the setting sun and if you watch close to the middle-right you can see the planets appear out of the blue when it gets dark enough: https://youtu.be/TODfTHhlwIc
Using my Canon 60d, I did this image using a geeked out zoom lens. I didn't just shoot stills but did a timelapse as well. I didn't see this meteor flash in person but rather realized it after I saw the time Lapse:
I think many people were underwhelmed. It was hyped nicely by the media. After all, really to the naked eye, most people only saw a bright single star. A few people saw the two objects but they have unusually great eyesight.
We are so exposed to imagery. One estimate suggests that the average American is exposed to over a million photos a day. Consider what you see on TV, the computer, banner ads, billboards magazines, when you stop and think about it, a million seems like a lot till you think of all the images you don't even notice that come into view. This makes us almost numb. And if the sight isn't glitzy and Hollywood glamours it can seem, well...boring.
The reason this Conjuncture is called the Bethlehem Star is the same thing that happened around what most consider the actual year of Christ's Birth. If we are numb to small things like a bright star appearing once in many lifetimes consider how underwhelming a homeless baby in a manger must have seen to those wise men following the star.
We so often overlook the most amazing miracles in the making as they are not flashy.
Regardless of how you celebrate, I hope this time is filled with joy and hope. And I hope next year is wonderful.
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