December 3, 2008

Mooned

We were about to go out on Monday when the Papa pointed to the night sky. There, in perfect alignment, were two stars, with the crescent moon right below them. From where we stood, the stars and the moon looked like one of those Smiley widgets.

Mr. Moon would accompany us as we made the quick ride downtown and back. At one point, with faint clouds streaking across, it looked like a friendly bearded face. Like some favorite uncle, or a beloved grandpa.

I have long been fascinated by night skies and starlit nights. For years, I purposely chose arduous 12-hour night trips over 45-minute plane rides so I can watch the moon reflected on the beaches of Quezon. I remember climbing through the window and onto the rooftop, scanning the pitch-black skies for falling stars. And how I loved Molave Street on full moons, when we neighborhood kids would scare each other with stories of mananaggals and tikbalangs!

As it turned out, the smiley in the sky was the picture drawn by the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the moon. (Geek talk: a planetary conjunction, also called an appulse, occurs when two or more planets appear very close together in the night sky as seen from the Earth.)

Conjunctions between Venus and Mercury and fairly common, and one is bound to occur three years from now. But with the moon in the picture? It won't be for another 44 years. Which makes me feel that I'm blessed to have witnessed a rare celestial spectacle.

And which had me on a frantic memory jog to my virtual bookshelf and Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky:

...we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. ...How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

(Source: Xinhuanet through this)

3 comments:

Rudy said...

For a moment there I thought you got "mooned" hehehe. Anyways, too bad I wasn't able to see the planetary smiley as I couldn't stay awake past 11pm these days. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait for another 44 years.... buhay pa kaya ako nun? "-D

Anna said...

Rudy: Ha ha ha. Actually, the conjunction started at around 6 p.m. I guess with the buildings and all crowding your Manila skyline, it might not have been visible there. But then, who knows: they way you've been keeping early hours you might still be around to meet Smiley 44 years from now :p

Kayni said...

i took photos of this, but i haven't downloaded them yet. i hope they come out good. yes, we're lucky to have seen this. my Mom freaked out when she saw this, then she started with the pamahiin. i guess she was trying to find meaning into this sky event.