Anthropomorphism and Astronomy

This is a bit old now, but it really struck me on the night. On 1 December, to quote News Limited:

Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon created a ‘smiley face’ above Australia. While the planets and moon appeared to be close together, they weren’t. The moon is 403,000kms way, Venus 149.5 million kms and Jupiter 870 million kms. Stargazers in Europe and Africa missed out. In the US, the effectwill be inverted and appear as a frown.

Depending on which news report you read, it will be another 5 years – or 28 – before it happens again.

What I found interesting was the media commentary which included references to emoticons (“smiley face”) and also the anthropomorphism like this, from News Limited:

David Widdowson, from astronomy calendar website Astrovisuals, said the heavens might be trying to send us a message to shrug off bad financial times and be happy. “It is perhaps a reminder that things aren’t so bad and that we should try to follow the Python Commandment to ‘always look on the bright side of life’,” he said. And perhaps it should tell Americans being frowned upon to have a long, hard look at themselves… 🙂

I hope you had a chance to see it, because, in a freaky celestial kinda way, it was strangely reassuring. The Seven Year Old, who I got out of bed and dragged to the front yard, was quite taken with the spectacle and anthropomorphised freely when it was time again to retire:

“Goodbye old friend, it’s been great seeing you, see you next time, ol’ buddy.”

So it seems that it’s not just beauty that’s in the eye of the beholder, but smiles as well.


I’m glad we’re in the southern hemisphere 🙂

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