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Perspective: When the stars back up your beliefs

Simon Delalande

Tomato, to-mah-toe. Potato, po-tah-toe. Astrology, astronomy. Which one of those comparisons is not analogous?

In a brief conversation with my church pastor recently, we both agreed that astrology could be fun for the casual horoscope reader, but it shouldn't carry credibility when it comes to decision making.

By contrast, astronomy — like all the sciences — is subject to observation, precise data collection, testable hypotheses, and, if need be, self-correction. I've been an amateur astronomer since the age of nine, when my parents bought me a small, 80-power Newtonian reflector.

Far from turning me into a non-believer or agnostic, that little telescope — and others which would replace it — opened me to the wonders of creation and the scientific laws behind it. Because celestial mechanics is so precise, we can literally look “backwards” into time and know when unusual events were displayed.

A basic part of the Christmas story involves the Magi — wise men — who noticed and followed a “star” in the night sky to its terrestrial destination. And we know that precisely at that point in history, a planetary conjunction occurred in the Heavens which they would have observed.

“Westward leading, still proceeding” is more than a song phrase. Even the wisest person of that time could not have fully understood or predicted the results of that celestial event.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.

DeKalb County resident Jim Kline grew up in Genoa and earned a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.