Selasa, 27 Maret 2012

Celestial Triple Convergence

Last evening after sunset I looked out the window of my Fort Greene apartment and even without my glasses I spotted the awe-ionspiring triple convergence of the crescent moon, Jupiter, and Venus hovering over the western horizon. I called down to AP, "Come on up here. I got something you have to see.""I hope it isn't your broken tooth." James shouted back from the floor below. "No, it's not my broken tooth." I had been pestering him to smell my shattered molar, which had been yanked from my lower jaw by my Sri Racha dentist in January. "It's something in the sky called the Triple Convergence."James loves Star Wars and dashed up the light of stars followed by his sister and AP."Come in here." I was standing at the bathroom window. It was easier to open than those in the bedroom."Ooooo." Lizzie held her nose. "This room smells of poop.""No, it doesn't." I had just cooked pasta with gorgonzola cheese. "Besides my poop smells sweet.""No, it doesn't." James checked the toilet bowl and held his breath before coming over to the window. "Look Dad, the moon has two friends.""They're not stars. They're planets. One is Jupiter and the other is Venus.""Which is which?" Speaking without breathing James sounded like he had a cold."Jupiter." AP was wrong and I said, "Venus is the brightest. Jupiter is the biggest.""Are you sure about that?" AP narrowed his eyes with distrust. He had attended a better college than me."Venus is called the Evening Star." No one thinks Venus is a planet, but it's more obvious than the mothership in the blockbuster film INDEPENDENCE DAY."Why is it so bright?" James always had a surplus of good questions. "Shouldn't the big one be brighter?""No, the brightness is its reflection of the sunlight.If we were in the country, they would seem even brighter, because there are competing lights.""We're going to the Hamptons tomorrow." Lizzie had yet to release the grip on her nose. "Will there be a triple convergence tomorrow night?""I think so." I actually had no idea."Cool." James ran out of the bathroom followed by Lizzie. AP gave me a smile. "It does smell a little of poop.""It's the gorgonzola." I felt a little like Gallilo abused by the Pope. "Yeah, right. See you in the morning." AP clapped his fingers over his nose and I sat by the window to watch the wonderment of the cosmos.I later read that the sun's astronomical magnitude was -26. The full moon was half that on the brightness scale. Venus was -4 and Jupiter remained visible in the night with a -1, plus that Venus shines so brightly, because its solar orbit never veers more than 90 degrees away from Earth. Tonight Venus will be on the longest end of its eastern elongation.Some 46 degree left of the sun.Millions and millions of miles away in Space.I think I'm in love.

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