Thursday, January 18, 2018

Skies over Grimerica: Night skies and Star Myths for January, 2018

It's time for another edition of "Skies over Grimerica," in which I join hosts Darren and Graham of the Grimerica Show to discuss the phenomena visible in the skies overhead during the current month, including some of the constellations in the night sky for the month along with their connection to ancient myth.

Previous installments of this fairly recent feature have included the "Skies over Grimerica" segments for the months of November and December (recorded in those months during 2017). This latest show discusses the phenomena visible right now during the remainder of the month of January (2018), including the total lunar eclipse coming up at the next full moon (January 31), as well as some phenomena coming up in early February, including that month's cross-quarter day.

The above conversation was recorded on January 17, 2018.

As with previous iterations of this feature, we follow the general outline of discussing the moon, then the planets, then any special upcoming "stations of the year" (last month looking at winter solstice, and this month looking at the concept of "cross-quarter days"), then the constellations visible during the month (or at least some of them), associated myths from around the world, and some discussion of the possible meaning and message of those myths.

We went for quite a while during this month's conversation, both because we covered a lot of ground and also because we dove at some length into a few different aspects of celestial mechanics in response to questions about subjects such as the angle of the ecliptic plane along which the sun, moon and visible planets can be seen to rise (and how that angle changes based on the observer's latitude on planet earth), the concept of the celestial north pole and how its elevation in the night sky changes based on the observer's latitude on planet earth, and the fact that the visible planets are sometimes grouped more "tightly" in the sky from the perspective of observers on our planet and sometimes are more widely dispersed, due to their location in their respective orbital tracks (among other subjects).

We also went into the concept of umbras and penumbras in relation to solar eclipses and lunar eclipses, the use of gnomons and shadows for telling time during the day and for marking the sun's progress back and forth between the solstices as we progress through our annual orbit, and a little bit on the use of passage chambers aligned with the sun's rising or setting points during special days of the year such as the solstices, the equinoxes, or the cross-quarter days (this month looking at Cairn L at Loughcrew in Ireland, which is aligned with the sunrise for the upcoming February cross-quarter day).

For those not wishing or not able to devote the two hours and fourteen minutes required to absorb this full episode in one sitting, the following are some general time-markers between the above-named subjects on the menu:
  • The moon and the lunar eclipse discussion begins soon after the "formal start" of the show, which doesn't actually start until about the 0:05:00 minute mark.
  • Discussion of the visible planet locations for the month begins at about 0:34:30. That segment also gets into some deeper dives into some of the aspects of the celestial mechanics mentioned above.
  • Discussion of the concept of cross-quarter days in between the stations of the two solstices and two equinoxes begins at approximately 1:02:00 in the video.
  • Discussion of some of the constellations visible this month, and their relation to the story of the goddess Durga and Mahishasura (in some detail), begins at about 1:28:20 and continues to the end of the video.
Links to previous blog posts that go into areas related to some of the points of discussion from this months segment include:
I hope that you are enjoying the "Skies over Grimerica" segments, and that you can go out into the night sky to observe some of the glorious heavenly phenomena for yourself each month, if at all possible.

I'm convinced that the ancient myths of the world are speaking a heavenly language which uses the heavenly cycles to convey profound truths for our benefit and blessing. The more we can observe and understand those cycles, the better we can "hear" what the world's ancient wisdom is trying to say to us.