Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tracking the Little Devil

Mercury is at greatest elongation in the evening sky this Saturday and I will probably be out there like a fool trying to spot it.  I sit on the bus bench on South Saunders and stare at the horizon across the highway.  I reckon I am becoming a familiar sight to people entering downtown via that busy through way. 

I doubt I will catch a glimpse, but it is kind of like fishing, sometimes we go just to be there. Mercury will be only 19 degrees ahead of Sol, not much chance to shine as the blazing one and only finally gives up the stage.  Oh well, by May 17 it should be easy to spot 40 minutes before sunrise since it will be almost 26 degrees from the Sun.

I will try to leave a link to an English version of Homer's Hymn to Hermes.  Plato and some others from those days were critical of these popular performance pieces.  They thought the young men would be better off learning something more morally edifying, and looked on this stuff the same way social critics these days fret about Disney's Pocahontas or Oliver Stone's historical movies.

Well, I have to say, when I finally did seek out the actual planet I had to smile at how well Homer captured its personality.  It does indeed hide in Maia's (aka Earth's) cave, literally, like a toddler ducking behind the skirts of its mum.

Tufts edu page with Hymn to Hermes

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