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Kepler and the Meteors of the Lion: This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

Kepler nested solids.jpg
The week of this week's Leonid Meteor Shower results from a dust trail ejected by the shower's parent comet over 400 years ago in 1600, when astronomer Johannes Kepler was had an epiphany about planetary orbits while teaching mathematical harmonies by nesting the Platonic solids.

At waning crescent phase, the Moon is a beautiful silver chalice, gathering up the last remaining mysteries of the night as it cascades through the dawn. This week, it gathers cosmic secrets from Leo, where a meteor shower is now underway. This activity isn’t only happening overhead, it’s also happening in the human heart, if we abide by the ancient wisdom that the divine forces of the human heart are rooted in the region of Leo stars.

As the Moon moves through Leo, the Earth encounters the dust trail of the comet that causes the Leonid Meteor Shower every year at this time.

To predict the level of meteor shower activity, astronomers calculate which portion of the comet’s debris trail Earth will pass through. This year the models indicate that on Friday we’ll pass through the dust trail ejected from the comet in the year 1600.

The amazing in 1600 was that astronomer Johannes Kepler was at work nesting the platonic solids in order to predict the orbital rhythms of the planets and to confirm the idea of an Earth in motion about the Sun. He referred to what we now know as Kepler’s laws of planetary motion not as laws, but as celestial harmonies.

And here’s the harmony in all this: right when the Leonid Meteor Shower is coming to its peak and we’re passing through a trail of cometary dust ejected over 400 years ago, we come to the anniversary of Kepler’s death 400 years ago, on November 15th, 1633. It’s as though the Leonid Meteor Shower shows up to celebrate his high achievements.

Kepler wrote: “When the storm rages and the shipwreck of the state threatens, we can do nothing more worthy than to sink the anchor of our peaceful studies into the ground of eternity.”

Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky.” As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011, which later led to her home state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness.