FEBRUARY 2011, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKIES

February’s night skies:

dominated by Jupiter after sunset,

Saturn through the night,

while Venus is still the reigning Morning Star

Mercury and Mars are lost to view

MERCURY became a Morning Star after meeting the Sun on December 20 (Inferior Conjunction). In February our little brother will be mainly lost in the glare of the Sun.

The last chance to spot it could be February 1, when the slither, which is all is left of the Waning Moon, will be close to it in the early hours before sunrise, but only if you have a very uncluttered and level horizon in the East.

On February 25 Mercury will in fact meet the Sun again, at Superior Conjunction, on the other side of the Sun from Earth’s view point.

Mercury will return as Morning Star only in late April.

VENUS‘ beauty and outstanding brightness (4.3 magnitude) will be only for the early risers in February and until June 2011.  Venus is rising and setting about three hours before the Sun this month.

Morning Star in the first six months of 2011 she will turn Evening Star after June.

In February she will navigate between the Constellations of Ophiocus (the Serpent Holder) and Sagittarius, steadily moving away from bright Antares, alpha of Scorpio Constellation, visible above Venus in Southern latitudes.

Here is a snapshot of Venus, taken at around quarter to five in the morning on February 3 2011. Notice Antares on top.

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MARS has disappeared from the sky in December, as it is now immersed in the light of the Sun, reaching its conjunction with our Star at the end of January, early February 2011.

Mars will become visible again as a Morning Star in mid-May 2011. The Red Planet will rise before the Sun then until 2012.

JUPITER is the first planet to become visible in the sunset twilight (magnitude -2.2), not far from setting in the West, having been above the horizon since around 10 am at the stat of February and just before 9 am at the end.  Jupiter is transiting against the backdrop of the Pisces Constellation.

This month Jupiter will disappear from view around 10 pm (one and half hours earlier at the end of February).

February is in fact the last month that we will be viewing Jupiter as an Evening Star, because in March it will become too close to the Sun to be visible. The Sun will reach its conjunction to Jupiter in early April, after which Jupiter will return as a Morning Star in early May.

Jupiter will slowly lose intensity and size as the month progresses, setting with the Sun by the end of March.

Still very close to URANUS at the beginning of January, Jupiter is now steadily separating from it.

The next opportunity to easily spot this remote world (through binoculars)  will come on April 23, when Venus will become very close to Uranus in the pre-dawn sky.

SATURN, at 0.6 magnitude, appears in the night sky as Jupiter disappears (around 11 pm at the beginning of February and 9 pm at the end), and stays up all night.

Much brighter objects will compete with Saturn, like Spica, alpha star of the Virgo Constellation Saturn is transiting. Throughout the month and for a few more months these two will remain close.

And also, to the South, Sirius, alpha of the Great Dog Constellation (Canis Major), brightest of all stars. And, slightly to the North, Arcturus, alpha of the Herdsman Constellation (Bootes).

Saturn will be a night star until late September 2011.

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All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/kellykw

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Astro/Naked-Eye-Planets/Naked-Eye-Planets.htm#PlanetList

http://www.astronomy.com/en/News-Observing/Sky%20this%20Month.aspx

http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomical.html

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Chinese New Year of the Metal Rabbit, coolest amongst Bunnies

February 3 2011

Happy Return to all Rabbits, in particular the 60 years old Metal Rabbits

born between February 6 1951 and January 26 1952

The coolest way to have Saturn and Jupiter’s Returns sort of combined

The Chinese New Year is here again. We welcome the steely Metal Rabbit in our midst. This could be a year of great opportunities for all Rabbits.

The Rabbit  (or Cat) is a soft, cuddly and dreamy creature in love with moonlight (its Western counterpart is the Water Sign of Pisces), often too sensitive for its own good and afraid of open confrontations. When its Element is Metal it becomes however a lot tougher, determined and shrewd. Their talent derives from their sensitivity and from being in touch with the feelings of other people. Any career where these qualities can shine will be ideally suited to the reserved but clever Rabbit, who learnt its wisdom from the Age old wisdom of the Moon, the psychic realm where everything is possible if the imagination can conceive it.

The Element Metal is one that confers determination and firmness to all Chinese Creatures. The negative side of Metal is its coldness and tendency to overly control every situation they found themselves in.

The Astrology of Jessica Watson, solo teenager sailor and Young Australian of the year

Jessica Watson has appeared again on prime time news, on Australia day 2011, to accept from the hand of our Prime Minister the Young Australian of the Year award for 2010.

Having written a post on Jessica when she returned from her sailing adventure in May 2010, I was curious to see the Progressions and Transits active at this time, when she has become the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards in Australia. The Chart I am using for Jessica is just a Sunrise Chart because her time of birth is still unavailable. Here it is:

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First of all I calculated a Progressed Chart for the Australia Day Award ceremony. Here:

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Keeping in mind that I am still working with a Sunrise Chart, I was very impressed by the meaningful correlation with the happy event of January 26 2011.

The first thing that jumps out of this Horoscope is the opposition Progressed Moon to Progressed Sun, very close (same degree), meaning that around this time Jessica is living through the first Progressed Full Moon of her young life (a once in thirty years event). Because we started with a Sunrise Chart and not a proper Birth Chart the timing of this important astrological event is uncertain, but we know that it is happening sometime this year.In fact the uncanny symchronicity of the Australia Day event and the Progressed Full Moon may even suggest that Jessica could have been born around sunrise.

The phases of the Progressed Moon are slow forming and long lasting, not ephemeral and brief like the transiting Moon’s phases. They represent personal landmarks in the life of the individual, especially the New and Full Moon. The Full Moon symbolizes a climax of experience, a time for fulfillment, reward or failure according to how the person has lived and thought in the 14 years preceding the phase. In Jessica’s case it seems that her Saturnine ambition and hard work (Saturn conjunct Solar Mid-Heaven at birth), with her Taurean determination (Sun, Moon and Mercury in Taurus) have paid off.

This award is launching her on a new league of her career as well as rewarding her for past achievements, the perfect effect of a positive Full Moon experience!  To make this event even more appropriate to Jessica’s circumstances the Moon has been progressing through the adventurous Sign of Sagittarius since early 2010 (according to the Sunrise Chart’s progressions exactly on Australia day 2010!), describing to a T her free spirited voyage and optimism to succeed. This Full Moon was also a Lunar Eclipse making the phase more intense and significant in Jessica’s life, producing greater and longer lasting effects.

In the mean time her Progressed Mercury in Cancer is forming this year a 90 degrees angle with her Progressed Jupiter in Libra and a 45 degrees angle to Progressed Mars, both aspects showing a great expansive energy for her mind, more travel, big ideas and unbound mental enthusiasm, that could even prove a bit too much for her. It is, after all, a lot to cope with for a girl who has not  turned 18 yet!

To understand better the Progressed Horoscope we need also to place it on top of the Birth Chart, in order to see their dynamic interaction. Here is a double wheel chart, with Jessica’s Birth Chart in the middle and her Progressed Chart in the outer wheel.

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Because the Progressed Sun and Moon form an opposition during the Full Moon phase, if one becomes linked by aspect  to a planet the other will also be linked to the same planet by a mirror-aspect. In this instance both Sun and Moon are linked to Jessica’s Birth Venus in Aries, in the sector of aspirations and friendships (XI House), the Moon by harmonious trine (120) and the Sun by harmonious sextile (60). These aspects highlight the positive effect of the Full Moon, bringing Jessica greater popularity and opportunities to reach out to the world and spread her message of hope and confidence to young people worldwide.

Now to the Transits. Here is a Bi-Wheel with Jessica’s Birth Chart in the middle and the Transits Chart in the outer wheel, for the same Australia Day’s event.

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In the short term the most prominent and closest transit to the time of the Award is the Sun, in the Natal IX House, in harmonious trine to Jessica’s Birth Chart Jupiter in Libra on the cusp of the V House, place of honors and enterprise.  Jupiter is the expansive function in our universe and psyche. When in contact with the Sun it enhances the scope of the Ego, sometimes even causing ego-inflation, when the individual begins to  identify too much with the inner myth fostered by Jupiter. Because the contact is an harmonious one the risk of self-inflation is less, but still present. Then again who wouldn’t feel a sense of Ego-pride winning such  a public recognition? The Sun was with Jupiter just for the day and has already moved on. Before Australia Day the transiting Mars was also in trine with Jupiter, fact that would have boosted the Mercury-Mars-Jupiter progressions discussed before. All great incentives to trust life and reach for the stars. On January 23 Jupiter has moved into Aries where he will reside until June 4. We need to remember that Aries is Jessica’ s Moon and Venus Signs, placements that have a lot to do with her adventurous spirit and single-mindedness. And also that her Natal Jupiter is in Libra, meaning that transiting Jupiter will soon form his last opposition to his own place in mid-February 2011, another ‘take off’ type of transit, that will certainly bring opportunities, but also the risk of taking too much on, or of becoming overly optimistic. From June 2011 Jupiter will begin his 12 months transit through Taurus, Jessica’s Sun and Mercury’s Sign, promising more opportunities and achievements in store for her in the second half of this year, spilling into 2012.

A cautionary note is sound by Chiron transiting Jessica’s Natal Saturn, exact on February 7, but already very close on Australia Day. This is a strange combination of energies during a period of apparent triumph for our young heroine. Perhaps there is a thorn in Jessica’s rosy bloom. Perhaps the responsibilities that come with success, financial gains and fame (Saturn cusp Aquarius/Pisces) have been inwardly difficult to face, Chiron always representing the unavoidable blemish to one’s complete happiness (if there is such thing!).

This transit is not new to Jessica, it has been exact before in mid-April and then again in late July 2010. This is in fact its last passage.

A bout of illness cannot be excluded, or just a period of lowered vitality and spirit, while this aspect remains active (until mid-March 2011). This transit may simply show the unavoidable anti-climax after the triumph, because nature always looks to find a balance, to restore equilibrium if things lean too much one way (or the other).  But this is the last pass of Chiron over Saturn, because Chiron will soon move to Pisces, not coming back to her Saturn for another 50 years! Just because it is rare enough transit it seems strangely important and out of place in a reading full of optimistic and buoyant aspects. Here instead is the gift of maturity via difficulties and pains, in order to become a true authority into oneself, a fully fledged adult. Despite her independence and self-determination Jessica is still going through the pangs of being reborn into a new self, and, doing so, she feels like losing some of her childhood’s joys and carefree ways.

Following this transit others are coming for Jessica that could have far reaching consequences for her career and life direction. These are the slow moving transits of Neptune over her Saturn cusp Aquarius-Pisces and her Mercury cusp Taurus-Gemini, beginning at the end of March 2011. Neptune will remain in the vicinity of Saturn and in square to Mercury for a long time, until the end of 2012, forming exact aspects at the end of August 2011 and again  at the end of January 2012.

Neptune has a strange effect on Saturn, the two representing very different energies, in many ways inimical to one another, Saturn always striving to solidify, plan and structure, while Neptune for ever attempts to dissolve, de-materialize and evade. Because of  Mercury involvement her mind and way of thinking will also be affected by Neptune. Jessica may feel like taking perhaps some time off  (Neptune) from her obligations and duties (Saturn), and her studies (Mercury) to go for another solo trip somewhere.

Neptune has a lot to do with her love of the ocean and of solitude (conjunct Uranus in her Natal VIII House, square the Moon and Venus, and trine the Sun in Taurus). Every Neptune’s transit will bring those characteristics to the fore.

Neptune-Saturn is never an easy and too amicable encounter. There will be some dissolving, ending and transforming  to go through, difficult adjustments that could for a time make Jessica less effective, realistic or practical, and also more vulnerable, flexible, sensitive and compassionate. Neptune-Mercury may not be as difficult, rather helping her to get more readily in touch with her intuitive feelings, her creativity and also her desire to help others. Taking up an ecological cause could be a great way to put together the high idealism and compassion of Neptune, the practical genius of Saturn and the broadcasting abilities of Mercury on the cusp of clever Gemini.

For many teens of Jessica age the Neptune-Saturn conjunction is now or will soon be a reality they will all have to go through. For some of them will be an awakening to new spiritual perceptions and a greater sense of personal responsibility (Saturn) toward the greater good of humanity and Nature (Neptune), sometimes through experiences of loss and ego-undoing.

Mars’ fiery energy flowing in the Aquarian Urn

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Mars, transiting the Air Sign of Aquarius from January 16 to February 23, will energize the lives of all Aquarius individuals, and also Gemini, Libra, Leo, Taurus and Scorpio.

The entire cycle of Mars (one orbit around the Sun) lasts just about two years, so this is a two-yearly opportunity for the above Signs to be more assertive and decisive, to get into things without waiting for circumstances to be perfect.

Aquarius is a Sign of mental stamina and concentration and these qualities will be strengthened by this transit. The Air Signs may lose some of their cool for a time, but gain humph and directness. The energy is very much available for all sorts of debates and speculations, but could be somewhat erratic and difficult to direct, especially for Leo, Taurus and Scorpio.

Mars is not known to be particularly aggressive in Aquarius, but could cause the mind to become stubborn and unyielding. The energy could be better used for study or any kind of mental pursuits, including computer work, learning, teaching, researching etc.

The usually mild, rational and civilized Aquarians amongst us (including people with the Moon or Ascendant in this Sign) may feel particularly combative and contrary during this transit. On the positive side the physical timidity often apparent in this Sign could be overcome for a time by Mars’ bold energy and pluck.

In these hard times, in Australia and many other places in the world, we could all use the courage inspired by Mars. Aquarius being the Sign of community, friendship and collective concern, we could all become more pro-active in matters of social justice. Community spirit will be stronger under this influence. People with humanitarian views could become more militant in upholding their ideals, more actively involved in community projects and volunteer work. Just what we need badly at the moment with so much clean up to do in the many areas ravaged by these unprecedented floods, and the need of moral support for the thousands of people affected.

The influence of Mars over this period is highlighted by the fact that the Sun was approaching the conjunction to the Red Planet on the day of the Full Moon (January 20) while the Moon was opposing it, bringing this planet to the front stage, in particular for the next waning fortnight.

Full Moon on the cusp Cancer-Leo, place where intuition meets creativity

Full Moon, cusp Cancer-Leo, on January 20, 8.21 am, Australian Eastern Summer Time.

More rain, dripping and dropping on the large waxy bells of the Datura tree, growing wild at the edge of the garden. Heavily scented flowers that like to bloom on the Full Moon. The incessant rain has made them only more luscious.

The forecast is for storms and possible flash flooding in our region.

No power in my laptop, no much power in our solar batteries.

For now I can only post the chart for this very special Full Moon, calculated for Wollumbin, in North-East New South Wales.

Students of Astrology would find of interest the Neptune-Chiron conjunction rising in Aquarius and at 90 degrees angle from the local MidHeaven, in view of all the major flooding.

Note also the conjunction of the Sun to Mars and the opposition to the same from the Moon. Mars is actually mid-point between the Sun and Ceres, the Earth Mother, Goddess of the Harvest and also of Mourning.

Significant the Water Grand Trine between the cusp Moon, cusp Jupiter (ready to enter Aries on January 23) and the local MidHeaven. As well as the coming square of Jupiter to the Lunar North Node and Pluto in Capricorn.

This, like many other Full Moon recently, happens on the cusp between two Signs, for the Moon Cancer-Leo, for the Sun Capricorn-Aquarius.

I have more about this Full Moon and also a post on Mars’ transit through Aquarius, plus a longer post on the historical significance of the passage of Uranus in Aries, on March 12.

Soon, weather and power permitting.

Cheers

The Sun Ingress into Aquarius

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Venus in the Sign of the Archer, January 7 to February 4 2011

Venus has entered the Fire Sign of Sagittarius on January 7, an important shift considering the long time Venus spent in Watery Scorpio because of retrogradation (from September 9 to November 8 2010 and again from November 30  ’til now). Venus will transit Sagittarius until February 4.

Having ended her period of retrogradation also means that Venus is now a Morning Star (Lucifer or Light Bringer), a more outgoing and social phase for Venus, when our sister planet waxes toward her Full Venus climax. The combination of the Fire Element and the Waxing Phase makes for a complete new look for the Love Goddess.

Sagittarius is in fact the most forward looking, optimistic and visionary of all Signs. Under this influence Venus will seek relationships (her function in the psyche) with renewed optimism and passion, unfettered by the emotional trappings that are so characteristic of the Water Signs, and of Scorpio in particular. A call to adventure in the area of relating, creativity and finance will sound for all the Fire Signs, Sagittarius, Leo and Aries, and also for Gemini (by opposition aspect), and Virgo-Pisces (by square aspect).

Sagittarius is about living in the moment, without too many plans or obligations. If we respond to this energy, we may also become attracted (Venus) by the fleeting moment, the ideal, the vision, the potential in every situation, perhaps also becoming disenchanted by the factual, what or who is really there. We may seek partners in adventure now rather than emotional security. This placement will encourage instant attractions, toward new people or activities, while it may not be the best suited for long term commitments.

Travel may be in the cards for many or thought of travel, because to Sagittarius the grass seems always a little bit greener on the other side of the fence, especially in the open fields!

This could be a rewarding time to take up a fitness program, to enjoy sports and games, the outdoor life, camping, campfires and visiting wild and unexplored places, physically and with our mind, through reading, speculations, philosophical discussions; the sort of activities that foster a sense of individual freedom and enthusiasm.

During these very arrowing times for Australia this super bright Venus in Sagittarius, announcing the coming of the Sun every morning, is helping to boost our confidence and to keep faith in better things to come.

Here are some famous people born with Venus in Sagittarius:

Politicians like British Margaret Tatcher and Winston Churchill; Australian ex Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

Male actors like Cary Grant, Billy Connolly, Kevin Costner,Gerard Depardieu, Alan Alda.

Actresses like Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Farrah Fawcett, Whoopy Goldberg.

Musicians like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, Donna Summer, Delta Goodrem, Michael Hutchence, Christina Auguilera.

Poets like Emily Dickson, Dylan Thomas.

Writer like Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll,Mark Twain.

Activists like Germaine Greer, Joan Baez.