The next few mornings this week a planetary quartet will be the main event in the heavens above. You have to be an early bird to catch it but it will be worth it. Planetary gatherings – or conjunctions as astronomers call them – are not that rare but they have in history caused a lot of alarm for many cultures which associate it with bad omens.
Many popular scare stories claim that due to the gravitational stress on Earth caused by the combined gravity of the planets, colossal tides, massive earthquakes and other disasters would occur. Despite all the dire prophecies the planets are simply too far away to have any effect on our little blue world. The giant Sun and our own nearby Moon have far greater effects on the Earth than even the combined gravitational effect of all the planets in the solar system.
In anycase it will be a grand sight to see these next few mornings – you won’t want to miss it. Check out my viewers guide complete with skycharts on my National Geographic weekly column.
Posted in Planets, Solar System, Stargazing | 3 Comments »