From eastern Asia, it looked as if God – or the Universe – was smiling down on humanity. Venus and Jupiter were almost perfectly aligned, a pair of eyes twinkling from millions of miles away, while the moon’s crescent formed the mouth of the smiley face. Perhaps it was a sign that astronomical conjunctions – when the planets and stars line up – while rare, are not signs of the apocalypse. The world had survived a much larger one the year before.
On this day, December 23, in 2007, three other planets – Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – lined with the Earth, the Sun AND the Galactic Center. Rarer still, it happened on a full moon.
There were few predictions of doom at the time – no overwhelming tides, no magnetic polar shifts – and not much else remarkable took place on that day, but according to the Mayan calendar, we still had five years to go.