It’s a fact, Northern Hemisphere stars appear brighter in winter than summer. Why? Our infinitesimally small solar system resides within the Milky Way galaxy, roughly 100,000 light years across with its centre 25-28 thousand light years away from plucky planet Earth. During December, January and February Northern Hemisphere night skies face away from the centre toward outskirts less muddied by cosmic dust. There are fewer stars between us and extragalactic space at this time of year. We’re gazing toward the Orion Arm, a minor spiraling tendril of the Milky Way housing our solar system. At this time of year large stars within the Orion Arm appear closer and brighter courtesy less galactic dust.
Bright winter stars have nothing to do with cold nights, everything to do with orbital alignment in relation to the heart of our galaxy. Don’t be shy, when night skies clear look up and wish upon a bright winter star.
Geminid Borealis by Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films takes my breath away. Envious is an understatement. Oh to be perched on a peninsula in Norway witnessing the Geminids through tendrils of ethereal auroras.
The mind’s eye likes to categorize images based on reference, circumstance and familiarity. Be it dark or daylight skies, we thrive on recognizable predictability. From contrails to crescent moon, ominous storm clouds to constellation Orion, familiar skyscapes fit like comfortable slippers. By virtue of our nature, everything we see is processed according to common knowledge. So what happens when perception defies instinctive categorization? When “I’ve never seen a cloud like that” or “that can’t possibly be an airplane” muddies reflexive comprehension? Void of immediate explanation some ask themselves, is it a UFO?
Ponder this image. How does your mind’s eye categorize eerie concentric circles punctuated with a tilted ascending beam of blue light? Extraterrestrial origin or definable illusion? In December 2009 a failed Russian ballistic missile test created this illusion in skies over Norway. Rings of light stem from spiraling trajectory following third stage missile failure.
UFO? No, it’s a Iridium flare. “Iridium” flare terminology stems from a constellation of communications satellites first launched in 1997 by Iridium Communications. Satellites generally appear as slow moving “stars” to the untrained eye. The original 66 Iridium satellites have been phased out, replaced by second generation SpaceX low orbit installations. That said, for the past 20 years momentary bright flashes occurred up to four times a day when reflective antenna caught sunlight.
From weather balloons, drones, funky clouds, upper atmosphere ice crystals bending light, low orbit satellites to bright magnitude planet Venus, the mind’s eye demands explanation. Is it a UFO? Probably not. 99.9% of the time there’s a perfectly logical explanation.
Astronomers describe the meeting of planets and other cosmic objects on our sky’s dome as “conjunction”. The term “great conjunction” is reserved for close optical alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn takes roughly 30 years to complete one orbit of the Sun. Jupiter, approximately 12 years. Every twentyish years they meet for a great conjunction. Why? In a nutshell, each year Saturn completes 12 degrees of orbit, Jupiter 30 orbital degrees. As such, in one year Jupiter closes the gap between itself and Saturn by 18 degrees. (30-12=18). Therefore, over 20 years Jupiter gains 360 degrees on Saturn ( 18×20=360 ). When Jupiter laps Saturn a great conjunction is born.
On December 21, 2020, winter solstice arrives with the closest great conjunction since 1226, a mere 0.1 degrees separates Saturn and Jupiter. Degree of separation so rare that in a thousand years between 1600 and 2599, only six great conjunctions have separation of less than 0.2 degrees. The last in 1683, next on March 15, 2080.
Next week’s great conjunction is exceedingly rare. Saturn and Jupiter appearing so close to the eye, they meld into a single bright object. So bright it’s being called the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. Biblical mythology aside, this once in a lifetime spectacle is worth a gander. Weather permitting, if clouds cooperate, look low to the southwestern horizon on December 21st 30 minutes to an hour after sunset. The great conjunction deserves an audience.
“Wellness” trends never fail to amuse. Make no mistake, fortunes are made by snake oil charlatans hawking new age wellness to scores of impressionable simpletons. Seems all you have to do is preface wellness with “health” to curiously validate preposterous claims. From goopy Gwyneth Paltrow convincing women to steam their vaginas like asparagus or believing vaginas make great cartons for pricey jade eggs, to crackpot cleanses, enemas and colonics marketed for weight loss/detoxification, there’s a fool born every minute.
“Add to cart” isn’t the only tool in the health & wellness box, “self-care” trends monetize content courtesy views, likes and shares. Nothing like a viral Tweet, Instagram, Facebook or blog post to cement trend status. It’s a billion dollar behemoth littered with fraudulent claims, dangerous misinformation, misleading propaganda and bloated superiority.
Ponder perineum sunning, aka butthole sunning – “In a mere 30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole, you will receive more energy from this electric node than you would in an entire day being outside with your clothes on” accompanied a Instagram video featuring this image last October –
Then this –
According to metaphysical Meagan “My experience with perineum sunning has been profound,” she claims. “I have been practicing this for a few months now. I start my day with 5 minutes of perineum sunning & feel energized for hours. I no longer rely on coffee for energy to start my day because I am getting my energy from the sun. I also am experiencing better sleep and require less sleep due to boost of overall energy.”
Perineum defines thin, delicate skin between your genitals and anus, without question an area where the sun shouldn’t shine. Physicians and dermatologists overwhelmingly caution against exposing perineum to sunlight. Sunning your butt won’t regulate circadian rhythm, regulate hormones, increase personal magnetism, improve focus and mental stimulation or help libido and sexual energy.
Health and wellness is a quagmire of misinformation. Self improvement requires honest reflection, not cockamamie testimonials guaranteeing eternal bliss courtesy sun on your bum. Smarten up people!