According to Tolkien legend, the most skilled craftsman ever to live created the great Silmaril jewels using the radiance of the Two Trees which once lit the world. Almost immediately, of course, mortal and immortal began fighting for possession of them. In the epic wars that followed, two were lost, and the immortals placed the third in the sky: out of reach of the greedy, and a lasting beacon of hope to the good-hearted.

Wanna see it tonight? Go outside before the crescent Moon has set, and you’ll see an unusually bright Venus near the Moon and between it and the horizon. That’s the last legendary Silmaril.

(It’s also a stifling, baked world enveloped in poisonous acid fog, with no signs of life other than the corroding remmnants of a few robot landing probes from Earth. But that’s an entirely different realm of cool and interesting.)

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