Tycho Brahe observing the 1572 supernova, with astonished
What's that up in the sky? A... uh... an... uh.... Golly, never seen that before...
Ever seen one of those? I won't say UFO, because that immediately conjures images of flying saucers and big-eyed space aliens, and that's not what I’m going for here. What I mean is, have you ever seen something in the night sky that you have "never seen before," but that you later learned was actually a natural and recurring apparition, like the appearance of Venus as the Evening Star?
This time of year usually stirs up a phone call or email or two involving "first time" sightings of the bright star Sirius, whose brilliant, multi-colored twinkling catches some people's attention at least once in their lives, causing them to gawk and either wonder why they'd never noticed it before, or assume it's a new thing in the sky, some rare and unusual occurrence.
Sirius did the same thing to me when I was in Junior High. I walked outside one night, looked up, and saw this glittering spectral jewel, brighter than I could remember any star I'd seen. This hook, or teaser, inevitably led me into the adventure of star gazing, because I had to find out what that thing was. But this kind of "revelation" can happen to people much later in life-- and in hind sight I'm amazed I hadn't noticed it when I was even younger.
For the past few months, Venus has been in the western sky as the Evening Star-- so naturally I’ve been getting more calls than usual. A man who I would guess (by his voice) was past middle age called to report the brilliant white light in the western evening sky, and was stunned to find out it was Venus. I could hear the amazement in his voice that he had never before noticed Venus in his life, after I told him that Venus comes and goes, alternately from the evening and morning skies, but comes back regularly.