Planes and Planets
by Roy Beckemeyer
Yesterday, on the morning of the last day of winter, March 19, 2019, around 6:30 a.m., the minuet of the planets was on impressive display across the southern sky. Venus, nearly due east, was just clear of the horizon, still inching its way toward the sun and a coming period when it would be lost in the dawn’s glow. Saturn was arcing up into the east by southeastern sky, halfway up into the line of trees along our street, and bright Jupiter was brilliant in the southeast, nearly clear of the highest branchlets of the tallest elm. Admiring the progression, I drew with my extended arm the arching path of the ecliptic across the sky and found on the western horizon the approaching moonset of morning.
I love seeing the morning sky unfold, the planets moving amongst the background of the Zodiac’s constellations, contemplating the way our Solar System is spread into a flattened oval racetrack of planets, nearly all spinning, like the Sun, counterclockwise (as viewed looking down from the earth’s north pole), all coursing in a clockwise path around the Sun, this dance shaped by and in honor of the conservation of the angular momentum of some five billion years of glittering, whirling evolution.
~Roy Beckemeyer, 20 March, 2019