Dove & Brush News On This Day

Friday, May 5, 2000
Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Planetary Alignment

On May 5, 2000— The planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon will be positioned roughly in a line with the Sun in an area of the sky less than 25 degrees across. Unfortunately, we'll not be able to see this conjunction since all the planets will be on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth. Doomsayers predicting earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and other global castatrophes have forgotten the last celestial alignment. On February 4, 1962, the Sun, Moon, and all the planets from Mercury to Saturn were clustered with a 17-degree area of the sky, while there was a total eclipse of the Sun. But nothing happened. The distance to the planets is too great for their gravity, magnetic fields, radiation to have any discernible effect on the Earth. If all the planets were to align perfectly with the Earth, their gravity would raise the ocean tides by just 1/25 of one millimeter. Typical ocean tides on Earth cause by the Moon and Sun are thousands of times larger than all the planets whether they're aligned or not. See NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

May 5: Born on this day—
1747 Leopold II, Holy Roman emperor (1790-92)
1809 Frederick Barnard, American president of Columbia College
1813 Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher of existentialism
1818 Karl Marx, German philosopher (Communist Manifesto)
1846 Henryk Sienkiewicz, Polish writer (Quo Vadis), 1905 Nobel
1861 Peter Cooper Hewitt, engineer, invented mercury-vapor lamp
1862 Max Elskamp, Belgian symbolist poet
1867 Nelly Bly, American female journalist & adventurer
1890 Christopher Morley, novelist, Saturday Review columnist (1924-41)
1892 Dorothy Garrod, British archaeologist
1900 Spencer Tracy, actor (Boy's Town)
1903 James Beard, culinary expert & author (Delights & Prejudices)
1904 Sir Gordon Richards, British jockey (won 4870 races)
1908 Rex Harrison, British actor (My Fair Lady)
1912 Alice Faye, actress (Alexander's Ragtime Band)
1913 Tyrone Power, actor (Alexander's Ragtime Band)
1942 Tammy Wynette, country singer (Stand By Your Man)

Conjunction of 6 planets
within 25 degrees

NASA Science News
for Tidal Force data
of planets on Earth

May 5: Events on this day—
1430 Christopher Columbus sights Jamaica on his 2nd voyage
1705 Leopold I, Holy Roman emperor, dies at 64
1780 Second oldest learned society in U.S.
(American Academy of Arts & Sciences) forms (Boston)
1816 John Keats, age 21, publishes his first poem "O Solitude" in The Examiner
1816 American Bible Society organized (New York)
1821 Napoleon Bonaparte dies in exile on the island of St. Helena
1847 American Medical Association organized (Philadelphia)
1862 Cinco de Mayo, Mexicans defeats French in Battle of Puebla, now a national holiday
1891 Carnegie Hall opens in New York City with Tchaikovsky as guest conductor
1902 Bret Harte, author Outcasts of Poker Flat dies in London at 65
1904 Cy Young of Boston Red Sox pitches perfect game against Philadelphia Athletics (3-0)
1912 Fifth modern Olympic games opens in Stockholm, Sweden
1912 Soviet Communist Party newsaper Pravda begins publishing
1917 Ernie Koob of St. Louis Brown no-hits Chicago White Sox (1-0)
1922 Construction on Yankee Stadium begins in Bronx, New York
1925 High School teacher John T. Scopes arrested for teaching evolution in Tennessee
1926 Sinclair Lewis refuses his Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmith
1930 First woman (Amy Johnson) to fly solo from England to Australia takes-off
1935 Jessie Owens set long jump record at 26'8"
1949 Council of Europe established
1950 Edgar Lee Master, author Spoon River Anthology dies in Philadelphia
1955 West Germany became a sovereign state
1956 World championship of judo first held in Tokyo
1959 Frankie Avalon's "Venus" hits top of music pop chart
1961 Alan Shepard becomes first American astronaut in space (Freedom 7)
1962 Bo Belinsky of LA Angels no-hits Baltimore Orioles (2-0)
1962 West Side Story soundtrack album goes to #1 in the music chart and
stays #1 for 54 weeks, which is 20 weeks longer than any other album
1973 Secretariat wins Kentucky Derby in record time (1:59.4)
1978 Pete Rose of Cincinnati Reds become the 14th player to get 3000 hits
1981 Kim Carnes's "Bette Davis Eyes" hits top of music pop chart
2000 Conjunction of Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn with Earth

May 5: Quotes on this day—
After some time we reached the lava zone. Unsoftened by time, jagged clumps and slabs stared us in the face, and the mules could only pick their way at random. On the first high ridge we halted and Kniep made a sketch of what lay ahead of us— masses of lava in the foreground, the twin summits of Monte Rosso on the left, and directly above us the forests of Nicolosi, out of which the snow-covered and faintly fuming peak emerges. We retraced our steps a little in order to approach Monte Rosso, which I climbed. It is nothing but a heap of red volcanic cinders, ashes and stones. It would have been easy to walk all round the rim of the crater if a blustering morning wind had not made every step unsafe; to advance at all, I tried taking off my overcoat, but then my hat was in danger of being blown into the crater at any moment and myself after it. I sat down to pull myself together and survey the landscape, but this did not help much, as the gale was blowing directly from the east. A magnificent panorama was spread out far and wide below me. The whole coast from Messina to Syracuse with its curves and bays lay open to my view or only slightly hidden by coastal hills. I descended, half dazed, to find Kniep sitting in a sheltered place where he had made good use of his time. With delicate strokes he had fixed on paper what the fury of the wind had hardly allowed me to see, let alone imprint on my memory... To me, the stacks of Jaci were a great temptation, for I was dying to chip off for myself some of those beautiful zeolites I had seen in Gioeni's collection. But the Englishman's ghostly warning triumphed; I gave up the zeolites and felt inordinately proud of my self-control.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italian Journey, May 5, 1787

One should lay in one's picture so that it has the look of representing the scene on a gray day, without sun, without clear-cut shadows. Speaking radically, there are neither lights nor shades. There is a color mass for each object, having different reflections on all sides. Let us suppose that, in this scene, in the open air and under gray light, a ray from the sun suddenly illumines the objects: you will have lights and shades as they are understood, but they are pure accidents. The deeper truth of this, singular as it may seem, contains the whole comprehension of color in painting. How strange it is that this truth has been understood by only a very small number of great painters, even among those who are regarded as colorists.

— Eugene Delacroix, Journal, May 5, 1852

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039