Four planets 'collide'

Posted by barbara on May 14, 2011

The alignment of four planets in Sydney's north eastern sky from 3 am on the 13 May was probably one of the few one in a hundred year events in recent times that has been more likely to inspire delight than dread.

Must admit that I was betting that the cloud cover would prevail on the day in question, denying Sydneysiders their view of this celestial spectacular.

How wrong I was. After waking on the hour, every hour to see what we could see, the first two planets eased their way above the headlands of Mosman and South Head, at first indistinguishable from the street lighting.

Yes, this was it! Here come the planets, arcing up into the pre dawn sky.

Next time I woke ABC Radio National announcer Fran Kelly was urging listeners to check out the celestial spectacle, as in get out and look up to the sky. She was inland at the time, reporting from Canberra during the budget week and thus presumably unware that for those living along the east coast of NSW, the impending sun had washed out the planetary congregation.

Going on the previous night's sighting (12 May), seeing three out of four planets in close proximity, let alone all four, is nothing to be sniffed at.

What on earth would our hunter gatherer forbears have made of this rare phenomenon?



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