It was particularly dark on my drive home from Billings, Montana last night. Montana is an exceptionally dark state with our expansive tracts of rural land and matters of darkness were amplified by the new moon that cast little or no additional light.
So there I was in the middle of nowhere, cruising along & rocking out to some tunes, when I noted two very bright lights in the southern sky. These lights were bright – like staring down a 747 with their landing lights on. Problem was, I was able to rule out aircraft very quickly when they didn’t really move anywhere.
It was hard to judge the distance of the lights due to their brightness…but my guesstimation was that they were “surface to air missile” close. I’ve seen my share of celestial bodies – stars, comets, shooting stars and planets – and nothing had struck me as bright and near as these two points of light in the sky.
So, naturally, with the absence of any rational explanation, I assumed they were UFO’s. 🙂 (I think my discussions with Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center are getting to me!) I thought about calling Peter, but I decided to do a little research first.
Well, interestingly enough…Venus & Jupiter happen to be hanging out at night right near the very patch of sky that I was looking at. Mystery explained. Montana’s a hot bed for UFO activity, according to some of my cursory research…but thankfully, this time it’s just a couple planets.
Apparently, tomorrow night (Nov. 30th), the pair of planets will appear closest together. The following night, the crescent moon will intersect with the pair, briefly creating a momentary “unhappy face” in the sky.
I’m still taken aback by how bright, clear and near these reflections of the sun seemed. I think I’m still not accustomed to the very dark darkness out here and the increased elevation is also certainly playing a role.
The words “Big Sky” have new meaning for me today. I love the Montana sky.