Rare Dance Of Planets Forms In Sky As Likeness Noted To Similar Display In 1940
By Michael H. Brown
All five naked-eye planets -- Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn -- will be visible this week, starting May 13, anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima. "There is no single date of a 'great planetary alignment,'" notes Sky & Telescope magazine, "though all five of them (plus the Moon) will be clustered within 33į of sky on the evening of May 14th." As we see above, several have already been visible together (Venus, Mars, and Saturn).
The last widely visible five-planet bunching, says the magazine, was in February 1940. (A tight grouping occurred in May 2000 but was hidden in the Sunís glare.) And another good one won't take place until September 2040. "So for many of us, this spring's display represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Is there any meaning in this? Is there meaning in the fact that the last time this happened was just after an extraordinary aurora borealis that was prophesied at Fatima as the "great sign" at the onset of the World War II?
We don't know about that, but we believe there will be many heavenly "signs" in the coming months and years. We note that there was a spectacular partial solar eclipse Christmas Day 2000, and that last Christmas Eve, there was a spectacular eruption of the northern lights -- which have been occurring with unusual frequency as the sun goes through an unusually long cycle of sunspots and solar flares. Meanwhile, an unusual display of a comet known as Ikeya-Zhang recently fascinated astronomers, coming on the heels of Hale-Bopp, which hung in the sky in a very unusual way in 1997 (displaying spectral trail colors that put some in mind of Divine Mercy).
If there is one passage that may relate to current spiritual problems (including idolatry) as well as warnings not to worship the sky, it may be this one from 2 Kings 23:5: "And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven."
Asteroids. Meteors. How do we discern? Is there actually meaning in all this? We can say only that Luke 21 mentions that along with famines, plagues, and quakes (all of which are revving up), "in the sky [there will be] fearful omens and great signs."
We are not to the point of "fearful" and possibly not "great" -- but like everything else, what is occurring heavenward appears to be intensifying.
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