Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts

Jonathan Cainer's Astro News
Friday December 26th 2003
Christmas Lights by Bernard Fitzwalter

Got lights on your tree and a holly wreath on your door? Good. It shows youíre in alignment with the heavens and the turning of the year. The holly wreath shows the circular cycle of the signs and seasons, and the tree shows the pole of heaven, the axis around which the skies turn, with the lights and baubles as the stars and planets. But why gaze at artificial lights when the real ones are outside? For the next couple of weeks you can see five planets crossing the sky each evening.

Start at about 5pm, after the sun has set. Over in the west, as daylight fades, youíll see a clear white light. This is Venus, now appearing as an evening star. Today - Boxing Day - the moon is nearby, so youíll see the two together. By about 6pm, when itís properly dark, Mars will be almost exactly due south. Heís bright and red, and still the brightest thing in that part of the sky, though not as brilliant as he was during the summer. Above him are four stars in a big square, which is part of Pegasus, the winged horse of myth and legend.

Look again at the end of the evening, around 11pm. Mars will have moved over to the west by now, while in the south Saturn will be high and bright, a yellowy light, forming the sharp end of a triangle. The other two corners are the Gemini twins. Below Saturn, near the horizon, is the blazing white of Sirius, the dog star, and between them is the unmistakable figure of Orion. If you then look to your left at the same time, another bright white light is coming up in the east: Jupiter, completing the sequence. Thatís most of the solar system in one evening, delivered to your backyard for free. Wonderful, isnít it?

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