1968 was a unique box office year as the movie industry was pumping the crowds with enthusiasm for cosmic exploration. From the original “Planet of the Apes”, Stan Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” to the 3-year-old “Star Trek” series on TV, North American’s space race started on the big screen. Despite its enthusiasm and popularity, the best was saved for last on Christmas Eve when this was broadcast Genesis 1:1-10 to the world: https://www.space.com/42055-apollo-8-moon-craters-official-names.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social
"We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'"
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas -- and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."
You can watch the original transmission at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vvNxhlP1jA but my wish for you is to embrace the original Christmas message from 2000 years ago and make it personal from here on!
Sky watch for the next month:
1. Thin Crescent Moon right of Saturn- Saturday, December 08th before sunset SW after sunset and they set around 19:00 for the night.
2. Comet 46P/Wirtanen near Pleiades- On Sunday, December 16th at sundown around 16:30, look NEE below the Pleiades M45 as this will be a naked eye object at magnitude 3 but a set of binos is better!
3. Gemini & Ursid Meteor Shower – We have two mild meteor showers this month; the Geminid peaks Thursday, December 13th just after midnight on a moonless night in the constellation of Gemini. The Ursid shower peaks Saturday, December 22nd morning before sunrise when earth moves through the center of the dust trail left behind by comet 8P/Tuttle on a moonless sky. For more on all meteor showers next year check out the International Meteor Organization at www.imo.net/calendar/2019.
4Winter Solstice Arrives- Friday, December 21st is officially the shortest day of the year at 03:23 pm. This occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees and likewise the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
Public Events for the next month:
Special Meeting at Ambrose University on the origins of the Star of Bethlehem - Saturday, December 15thstarting at 18:30-20:30 at the Airhart Theater, 150 Ambrose Circle SW
Calgary. A presentation on faith and science by Dr. Stephen Jeans, developer and instructor of Ambrose University’s Earth and Space Science courses. Come to an evening of beautiful image presentations which begin to explain current findings about comets and other natural phenomena of our universe including stars and novae that may have been the sign of the nativity. This presentation is about an hour of full-colour space images (mainly from ground-based astrophotographers and space-based NASA telescopes) and includes some analysis of biblical accounts to suggest how/what might have been the Christmas star of the Magi.The RASC Calgary will help point out Comet 46P/Wirtanen. https://www.csca.ca/events/event/cal-jeans-18/.
Merry Christmas and Thanks for Tuning in all Year!
Neel Roberts is a member of the Calgary chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada-the nation’s leading astronomy club founded in 1868 with over 5,000 members and 29 centers across Canada. Neel welcomes your questions and comments at (403)560-6574, Neel_Roberts@ptccanada.com. The members meet once a month on weekends at Calgary’s Rothney Observatory near Priddis and you can check out times at https://www.ucalgary.ca/rao/calendar. Like them at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/272037680377/, Twitter https://twitter.com/CalgaryRASC & YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/RASCCalgary.