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It’s been eleven years since the last planetary alignment and people are anxious to see the rare astronomical phenomenon once again. The 5 roman gods that are aligning in our sky for a week will be visible to the naked eye just before dawn.
The alignment will take place gradually, Jupiter being visible at around 9:30 in the evening and Mercury will arrive rather late to the party, somewhere around 6:30 in the morning. That will give a window of approximately 45 minutes in which all of the five roman gods that are aligning in our sky will be visible to the naked eye.
According to astronomers, the order in which the planets appear is Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and, finally, Mercury, who will reach the highest point of visibility between the 4th and 7th of February. People will be able to study the planetary alignment until the 20th of February.
Guy Worthey, an astronomer at the State University of Washington points out that these are the only five planets that were visible to the ancient civilizations. They are also the only ones that were named in the times of yore.
The five celestial bodies were not perceived as planets by the ancient civilizations, but rather as a proof of the presence of their gods in the sky. That is why all the planets bear the names of ancient roman gods.
Mercury was the messenger of the gods. Which is why it is actually pretty funny that it is the last planet to be visible in the sky. He was known as Hermes in both religions until the Romans separated themselves from the Greek belief system. They kept the gods, but changed the names and called it another religion. This seems rather familiar coming from the people of Nero and Caligula.
Mars, the red planet, is the god of war. The embodiment of wrath, deception, strategic planning and brute force. He was known as Ares in the Greek belief system.
Venus, the closest planet to Earth and the brightest in the sky, was named after the roman goddess of love. Venus is the equivalent of the Greek Aphrodite, the beautiful maiden that was forced to marry the ugly Hephaistos and who cheated on him with the god of war.
There is a difference in opinion in what concerns Saturn. As with Kronos, Saturn was both the god of agriculture and time. But since ancient civilizations depended on their crops for their lives, it’s only logical that they attributed the two to the same powerful supernatural being.
And last, but not least, Jupiter. He was the Zeus of Roman mythology, the god of thunder and the sky, ruler of all other gods, the gas giant in our solar system.
This is the brief story of the 5 roman gods that are aligning in our sky, and that will be visible on the 20th of February.
Image source: www.flickr.com