Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mercury - The Insignificant Planet

Mercury is often called the "most elusive" planet. It appears on schedule, of course, but is not always clearly visible, due mostly to the time it rises or sets. Being one of the dimmer planets makes it fade amongst the myriad of other stars when it appears too long after sunset. So it isn't very often we get to see it this clearly.

And that's what you get for the next 10 days or so. Mercury; the elusive, almost insignificant planet, visible to the naked eye. But to see it, you need to find it first. And it's not that hard. Here's how;

The planet Venus,the brightest of all the planets, is clearly visible as it sets just about an hour or so after sunset. I'm at 35 degrees laitude here, so make your adjustments. But basically you neeed only look to the West about an hour or so after sunset and the first, possibly only, thing you will see is a bright star. That's Venus and it's a planet. It glows with the reflection of the sun, which has already dipped below the horizon. The same phenomenon lights our Moon.

Now, to find Mercury, our elusive, insignificant planet, just look 45 degrees down to the right.(Like the hour hand pointing to three-thirty.) Just above the horizon you will see, hopefully, a small, almost reddish, starlike object. That's Mercury, reflecting the reddish glow from the setting sun.

Now, you're asking, why this is important. Here's why. It reveals to the naked eye and all our senses, just how tiny and insignificant we really are. It calls out, clearly, that " we are but a speck of dust." I don't know who said it. I'd need to look it up. And isn't it written that "What is Man that Thou regardest him... He is but a blade of grass to be cut down, to wither and to die." Again, maybe not word for word, but you see where I'm going with this.

Someday, when we all get beyond our petty differences we will realize the basic truth that is so apparent when you look at Mercury, the "insignificant planet." If we would all just realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things, then we could achieve our greatest goals. It's really that simple.

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