|photo by TaviGreiner|
The moving moon
went up the sky,
Softly she was
And a star
or two beside -
(from The Rime of the
Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
The full moon tonight came with a special treat: just off the moon's left shoulder a bright "star", which is not a star at all, but the giant planet Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet and the fifth planet from the sun in our solar system. In the ancient Roman pantheon, Jupiter was the name of the putative "king" of the gods - his Greek equivalent was Zeus. Jupiter is the ruling planet of the astrological sign Sagittarius, bestowing upon those lucky individuals good fortune, nobility and lives of meaning and purpose. Jupiter is also associated with luck and happiness.
Perhaps Gustav Holtz was thinking about the good luck and positive influence attributed to Jupiter when he subtitled the movement dedicated to the giant planet, "Bringer of Jollity". Listen to the beautiful Jupiter movement of Holtz's orchestral suite, The Planets. You'll hear the parts which remind you of Jupiter's connection to the idea of higher purpose around the 3 minute mark. Turn up the volume and lose yourself in a 7 minute musical vacation which will be a tonic to body and soul.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine.
Off to the right and slightly below the moon shines the red giant star, Aldebaran.
Apparently, tonight's full moon was the smallest one of 2012, because the moon is at its apogee - the farthest distance from earth in its orbit. Don't tell me or Carolyn Ann that it was small, however. Tonight's huge moonrise was as spectacular as many a Harvest or Hunter Moon. The huge buttermilk- coloured orb ascending in a deep azure sky that was pierced by the light of the moon's two brilliant celestial companions was truly captivating.
The November full moon is known as the "Beaver Moon" or the "Full Frost Moon" in Native American lore. There was also a lunar eclipse earlier today, but unless you were in Australia or at least in Alaska, you probably didn't have much of a view. Lucky for you, Nifty is here to save the day!
A little night-sky gazing for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!