Monday, 2 April 2018

Saturnine

March has been the most dismal month for astronomers in the UK. It has rained nearly every day and on the few days there was no rain the sky was almost totally overcast.  One morning I caught a glimpse of Saturn in the morning sky at 5am on the South Eastern horizon. 

The rings are just visible but could have easily been explained away as a lens aberration in Shakespeare's time if anyone had tried to look at the planet through a Digges-Bourne perspective glass. In Shakespeare's time Saturn was the yellow planet associated with old age and melancholy.
In Titus Andronicus (Act II, Scene 3) Aaron says to Tamora "Madam though Venus govern your desires Saturn is dominator over mine". Shakespeare is using Saturn as a metaphor to show that Aaron is melancholic and depressive whilst Tamora governed by Venus is passionate.
In the coming days Saturn and Mars will pass closely to each other in the morning sky. If the skies clear I will try to capture this celestial event.  

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