Sunday Reads: Overthrow not Overturn

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Oh yeah, open thread.

18 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Overthrow not Overturn”

  1. dakinikat says:

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    • dakinikat says:

      This is where Trump’s crippling psychological condition—his complete inability to face unpleasant facts, his toxic narcissism, and his utter lack of empathy—became lethal. Trump’s negligence turned what would have been a difficult winter into a dark one. If any of his predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, to go back just 40 years—had been president during this pandemic, tens of thousands of American lives would almost surely have been saved.

      “My concern was, in the worst part of the battle, the general was missing in action,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, one of the very few Republicans to speak truth in the Trump era.

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    UIS Observatory to hold a virtual Star Party for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

    The University of Illinois Springfield Observatory is holding a virtual Star Party for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21.

    Participants can learn more and watch the virtual start party on Zoom by accessing the link at

    The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is an infrequent event occurring when the apparent positions of the planets converge in the sky. Normally, just one planet is visible through the telescope at a time. During this great conjunction the apparent distance between Jupiter and Saturn will be less than six times the apparent diameter of Jupiter, the closest the two have been in more than 800 years. Over the course of a few nights, both will be visible simultaneously in the same telescope field of view with their closest approach on Dec. 21. Although they appear close together, Saturn will be at a distance of nearly 460 million miles behind Jupiter.

    • dakinikat says:

      Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky today (Dec. 21) in an event astronomers call the “great conjunction,” and you can watch it online with webcasts from The Virtual Telescope Project, Slooh and more.

      Tonight’s great conjunction — also nicknamed the “Christmas Star” — marks the closest apparent encounter of Jupiter and Saturn in nearly 400 years. The two planets will be closest to each other in the sky tonight, which is also winter solstice, and may be viewed as one point of light, appearing only a tenth of a degree apart. They will remain in close alignment for a few days and will be easily visible to the naked eye when looking toward the southwest just after sunset.

      You can watch the winter solstice great conjunction webcasts live here throughout the day.

      A conjunction occurs when planets appear incredibly close to one another in the sky because they line up with Earth in their respective orbits. While Jupiter and Saturn align about once every 20 years, this year’s conjunction marks the first time since 1623 that the two gas giants have passed this close to one another in our sky — and nearly 800 years since skywatchers were able to witness the event at night. The planetary alignment has also been called a “Christmas star,” since it falls on the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and only a few days before Christmas.

      • dakinikat says:

        If the weather is bad or you just want to see a close-up of the “great conjunction” in telescopes there is a way to stream the celestial action online. Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona—the historic observatory from where Pluto was found in 1930—will host here on YouTube an evening of telescope viewing and commentary from its own astronomers and educators.