Winter is here and it’s the end of the world according to the Maya


This Wednesday marks the start of the Saturnalia celebrations. Saturnalia, the Roman mid-winter festival, was used by early Christians to hide their celebration of the Nativity. On Friday at 6:12 the “top of the earth”, the Arctic, is tilted the furthest away from the Sun. According to the Maya, the end of the world is also this Friday, on the 13th Bakt’un anniversary of the Maya Long Count calendar. In the sky: Evening planets: 6:15-6:30 Mars and Jupiter ‘bookend’ the main fall constellation Pegasus. Morning planets: 5:30 Saturn and Jupiter ‘bookend’ the main Spring constellation Leo. A short note: the grandfather of all TV astronomers, Sir Patrick Moore died last week – he had hosted the monthly BBC show ‘The Sky at Night’ for 50 years, the longest running program with a single host in the history of TV. He wrote dozens of books, inspired thousands to become astronomers, probably inspired millions to look at the night sky. His last program was broadcast last Monday. It’s believed that he was the only person to have met Orville Wright – the pioneer aviator, Yuri Gagarin- the first man in space and Neil Armstrong-the first man in the Moon.

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