Trivia

Hard

A Syzygy Is A Rare Event In What Two Distinct Categories?

Navigation and Spelunking
Poetry and Astronomy
Baking and Aviation
Painting and Golf
A photo of a rare astronomical (syzygy) event.
ESO/Y. Beletsky/Wikimedia

Answer: Poetry and Astronomy

Syzygy is a term used in both poetry and astronomy. In poetry, it denotes the combination of two metrical feet into a single unit. Phonetic or consonantal syzygy is not particularly rare as it is essentially a type of structured alliteration. A metrical syzygy, however, is significantly rarer and only occurs when you have an extra metrical foot in a line of poetry that is, for the sake of scansion, treated as one. Examples of this in English and most other languages are few and far between.

In the field of astronomy, the term syzygy is also used and refers to a (slightly less) rare event. In studies of the night sky, a syzygy is a very rare alignment of three or more celestial bodies (in a gravitational system) in a roughly straight-line configuration. If you catch a blurb on the evening news about how you should stay up late and make a trek to your local observatory to witness Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury in alignment, the anchorman is talking about catching a syzygy.

The word syzygy comes to us from Ancient Greek and means “yoked together”.

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