December 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern skies

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December: get out your night goggles to watch some magnificent sky-walkers:

Jupiter, in the East, and Venus, in the West, are King and Queen of the night.

Mercury is hiding again, between Earth and Sun, for most of this month

Mars is becoming brighter and is more elevated above the horizon

Saturn rises low in the South-East before sunrise, elusive but visible

Other events

~ Meteors Showers, Geminid and Ursid ~ a Total Lunar Eclipse on December 10/11 ~

*MERCURY, in retro motion in Tropical Sagittarius since November 23,  is changing from Evening to Morning Star, moving from the Western sky after sunset to the Eastern sky before dawn, after forming an Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on December 4.

Mercury will remain invisible until the end of December, re-emerging  in the South-East after December 20. On December 22/23 it could be easier to spot him (-0.4 magnitude) because of his vicinity to the tiny Balsamic Moon (two days before New Moon)  and also his alignment to the star Antares (alpha of Scorpio constellation).


VENUS: Venus is becoming brighter every day, also more available for observation because she will remain longer in the western sky after sunset.  Her magnitude will be around -3.9 throughout the month.

Venus and the tiny Crescent Moon (two days past New Moon) will appear very close in the evening of December 27.

Venus will reach her maximum brightness at the end of April 2012 (-4.5 magnitude), her maximum elongation or longitudinal distance from the Sun expected at the end of March.

Click HERE to view a cool graphic of the pentagram or five pointed stars formed during the eight years Venus/Sun’s basic cycle.

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*MARS: it will be easier to spot Mars this month, rising in the East a bit earlier every day. The Red Planet is also becoming brighter, from +0.7 to +0.2 magnitude. mars will be already well above the Eastern horizon by month’s end. He will remain relatively close to the two major stars of Leo constellation, Denebola and Regulus. 

On December 18 the last Quarter Moon will transit in the vicinity of Mars, in the East, from one am until sunrise. providing a bright clue to spot Mars.



JUPITER: as it gets dark in the evening Jupiter can be observed already high above the Eastern horizon this month. He is very bright, at around -2.7 magnitude.

The Giant Planet is rapidly moving North-West, setting earlier as December advances, between two and three am at the start of December and  just after midnight by the end of the month.

Jupiter is transiting against the backdrop of Cetus (the Whale constellation). He will be caught up in the Sun’s glare in mid-May 2012.

On December 6 and 7 the Waxing Gibbous Moon will be visually close to Jupiter for good part of the night.

In December Saturn makes his return to visibility, appearing higher above the Eastern horizon before sunrise, rising in our mid-southern latitudes about 3 am.

In early April 2012 Saturn will reach his maximum elongation (distance) from the Sun and so also its greatest brilliance (+0.2 magnitude). In the month of December Saturn will shine at +0.8 magnitude only.

Saturn will still be transiting near the the alpha star of Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the maiden’s hand. On December 21 the Waning Moon will be aligned to both Saturn and Spica,  in the East before sunrise.

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Other major astronomical events in December

A Total Lunar Eclipse in the Tropical Sign of  Gemini is on the cards for the Full Moon of December 10/11 (depending where you are in the world).

This Eclipse will be visible in its totality in most regions of Russia, the whole of Asia, including South East Asia, in China, Japan, the two Koreas, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia. It will not be visible from South America or Antarctica, and only partially from Europe, Africa, Mexico, North America and parts of Canada. 

The Nasa site discussing this Total Moon Eclipse can be found HERE.

Meteors Showers are expected this month too, the Geminid and the Ursid. The Southern Hemisphere will be ideal to watch the first one, while the second will be visible only for people North of the Equator.

The Geminid will reach its peak on December 13,14 and 15, but some of its meteors could be glimpsed between December 6 and 19. Unfortunately the big Waning Moon (Disseminating Phase, after the Full Moon on December 10) may conceal many of its shooting stars (up to 80/120 per hour! One of the best meteors showers of the year). The spectacle will be worth the effort of rising early though, especially if you live away from city lights.

The constellation of Gemini, from which this shower radiates, rises before midnight in mid-latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, so there would be many hours of opportunity for observation. The shooting stars will appear to generate in the vicinity of Castor (with Pollux, one of the Twin stars of the constellation Gemini), situated just below the Moon for southern observers. These meteors actually originate from the Asteroid Phaeton, an unusual occurrence because most showers come instead from comets.

The Ursid meteors shower (visible only to Northern observers), will have the advantage of a darker sky, its peak occurring two days before New Moon, on December 22 and 23. The shower itself goes on from December 17 to 25. The Small Bear or Little Dipper constellation, the place from where this shower radiates, is a circumpolar constellation, meaning that it does not rise above the horizon sufficiently in southern latitudes.  This shower has less meteors than the previous one, 20-15 per hour, occasionally more. It originates from a comet called 8P/Tuttle.

For a historical take on Sun Spots and Flares please navigate to some interesting article on space.com HERE.

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

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

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

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

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June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

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VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer  post).

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MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars.Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of  Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

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JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

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Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

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JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden  death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


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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://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

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

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

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JUNE 15: Venus has

March 2016: Stars over Wollumbin

Van Gogh Starry Night pervinca***

March 2016 planetary highlights

The second and third week of February have been exceptionally good for observing the visible planets, Mercury-Venus-Mars-Jupiter-Saturn. During the later part of the night they were threaded upon the vault of the sky like a string of pearls, all visible above the horizon at the same time; Jupiter rising first in the evening and Mercury last, before sunrise.   The last time the same alignment occurred was ten years ago; and the same will not happen again as strikingly until 2018. Here is an artist  impression of the February alignment.

 Alignment Artist's impression of how the planets aligned in March 2016 - Picture David Reneke

Artist’s impression of how the planets aligned in March 2016 – Picture David Reneke

Things are different in March.  Jupiter reigns supreme now, rising first after sunset and setting last before sunrise. Also easily observable are Mars and Saturn, high up in the pre-dawn sky.  Venus instead is now swiftly dipping eastward toward the Sun, still visible but bit closer to sunrise every day. This is in view of her imminent total immersion in the Sun glare in June (Superior Conjunction).

Rising later and later during this month, to be just above the horizon at the end of March, Mercury is now completely lost in the light of the Sun and will re-emerge in the west as an Evening Star only after the first week of April.

The coming Equinox Season is also Eclipse time, significant for the world’s destiny, marking the new season with some intense hues. The Sun will enter Aries and culminate on the Equator, in his northbound journey, on  March 20, 2.27 am (Australian Eastern Summer Time), beginning of the mid-seasons on both hemispheres. A Total Solar Eclipse  will occur at the Pisces New Moon on March 9, and an Appulse or Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will occur at the Libra Full Moon on March 23, just three days past the Autumn Equinox (for the southern lands).

Here are all the major planetary events in more details. ***

*MERCURY: Our Little Brother met the Sun at Inferior Conjunction on January 14, ending Mercury’s apparition as an Evening Star (setting after the Sun), disappearing from view for about three weeks afterward.

In February Mercury rose early enough before the Sun to become part of the planetary alignment, the last, smaller pearl in the necklace, in his brief incarnation as a Morning Star.

Now again Mercury has disappeared from view. He will reach his Superior Conjunction to the Sun on March 23 , the day of the Moon’s Eclipse.  This means that the Moon, partially darkened by the Earth’s shadow, will not only oppose the Sun but also Mercury.

Little Brother will remain hidden until the first week in April, to reappear then as an Evening Star.

Looking ahead the Evening Star’s period will end for Mercury on May 9 with his next Inferior Conjunction to the Sun.

For an explanation of the reason for the Morning and Evening apparitions of Mercury and Venus check this interesting article by astrologer John Pratt, HERE.

Venus24_thumb.pngVENUS: since the end of August 2016 Venus has been the most brilliant object in the late night/pre-dawn sky, the brightest pearl in the necklace.  This month Jupiter will rival her and will also be available for observation the whole night long.

In March Venus will rise a bit later every day, around two hours before the Sun at the beginning of the month, one and half hour at the end (in southern latitudes). Depending on your geographical situation Venus will become more difficult to spot as the month advances. Observation is still pretty good in the southern hemisphere, despite the rapidly shortening window of opportunity, while in the northern hemisphere observers will lose sight of Venus early in March.

Venus-Sun Superior Conjunction is scheduled for June 6 and so our Sister Planet is hurrying to meet that deadline. It is Aphelion time for Venus too, when, on March 21, she reaches the greatest distance from the Sun in her 225 days orbit, on the ninth degree of Aquarius.

For an comprehensive explanation of the cycle of Venus and the other planets check this article by astrologer Nick Anthony Fiorenza, HERE.

Jupiter no backgroundJupiter GlyphJUPITER: March 2016 is the best viewing time for Jupiter, the Giant Planet navigating the sky all night, every night. On March 8/9 (depending where you are in the world) Jupiter will reach the opposition to the Sun, directly facing the Earth and thus fully illumined by the Sun. This is the time of maximum brilliance for all planets orbiting outside the Earth’s orbit. Jupiter will be seen reaching the greatest possible height above the horizon at midnight (as the Sun at midday in the summer months).

To add to this Jupiter will be also at Perigee, causing the brightest and largest apparition (apparent magnitude), by mid-month outshining all others, including Queen Venus.

The Moon will align to Jupiter between March 22 and 23, a spectacle not to be missed, from Moon raise onward.  Here is a snapshot of the event, taken around midnight looking up in a northerly direction, on March 22 2016.

https://livingmoonastrology.files.wordpress.com/

Moon aligned to Jupiter March 22 2016 midnight

In March Jupiter will be see against the backdrop of the constellation of Leo, above and to the north of Alpha Leonis, Regulus, the Little King, the brightest star of this group. This fact may puzzle some students of Astrology because they know that Jupiter, at this moment in time, is transiting the Sign of Virgo, not Leo. For an explanation of this conundrum please read my Tutorial on the two Zodiacs, Tropical and Sidereal, HERE.

Looking ahead into this other ever changing cycle Jupiter will reach his next conjunction to the Sun on September 26, not observable for many weeks around that time, until his reappearance as a Morning Star toward the end of 2016.

MARS and SATURN: I am putting together this odd couple because in March we are able to observe them in the same quarter of the sky, rising few hours before the Sun and still high above the horizon on sunrise. Here is a Stellarium image of the beautiful cosmic triangle formed this month by Mars, Saturn and the Alpha Star of Scorpio constellation, Antares.

Mars-Saturn-Antares mid-March 2016 around 2 am

Mars-Saturn-Antares mid-March 2016 around 2 am

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Mars can be seen against the backdrop of Libra constellation and Saturn against Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer.

Mars and Saturn will rise around midnight at the start of the month, and around 10 pm toward the end of the month. Mars is easily recognizable by his orange/red hue and is brighter of both Antares and Saturn, the latter however brighter than the star and off-white in colour.

Mars will double in brilliance in March, going to reach his brightest moment in on May 22 2016 when it will oppose the Sun. Mars and Saturn will appear close to the Moon on March 1 and 2, and again in late March, 28 and 29, an easy way to spot them by tracking down the Moon, weather permitting.

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MARCH 2016 SOLAR and LUNAR ECLIPSES

Total Solar Eclipse at the Pisces New Moon on March 9, 12.54 pm (Australian Eastern Summer Time):

This Eclipse will begin in South East Asia (Sumatra, Borneo etc.) and its totality will last for four minutes and ten seconds. Afterward the reduced shadow will move from west to east, crossing the International Date Line (180 degrees Meridian in the middle of the Pacific Ocean), so that it will begin on March 9 but ends on March 8!

Apart from some regions of East Asia this Eclipse will be only partially visible from Northern Australia (Darwin, Cairns and surroundings). If you are as low as Rockhampton, in Queensland, you will not be able to observe it. The Eclipse will also be visible as a Partial event in Alaska and Hawaii.

Penumbra Lunar Eclipse at the Libra Full Moon on March 23, 11 pm (Australian Eastern Summer Time):

This is a Penumbra Lunar Eclipse, meaning that the Moon will be just touched by the Earth’s shadow this time. It will be visible, in different degrees of partiality, in many regions of Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica.

https://livingmoonastrology.files.wordpress.com/To view previous STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN’s and other sky-watching posts please navigate to the Archive HERE

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

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

Naked Eye Planets

Mudgee Observatory

Earth-Sky

Australasian Science

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June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

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VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer post).

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MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon, reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars.Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

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JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

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Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

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JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


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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://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

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

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

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JUNE 15: Venus has

November 2015: Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern Sky

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Van Gogh Starry Night pervinca***

November 2015 planetary highlights

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*It is too late this month to spot tiny MERCURY. Our neighbor is still rising before dawn but rapidly approaching the Sun, reaching Superior Conjunction on November 18. Afterwards it will make its first apparition in the evening sky in late December 2015.

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Jupiter GlyphJupiter no background***

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VENUS, MARS and JUPITER are still rising in the east before the Sun in the month of November.

Venus will rise two hours earlier than the Sun throughout November, offering an even better opportunity to observe our sister planet in her most beautiful morning glory.

Mars and Venus will closely align on November 3 and afterwards separate, with Mars rising earlier and earlier throughout the month, until he will be up a whole three hours before the Sun by the end of November.

Jupiter also will rise bit earlier every day, two hours before the Sun at the beginning of November and over three hours at the end.

The Waning Balsamic Moon will align with Jupiter on November 6, with Mars on November 7 and Venus on November 8. Here is a snapshot of the eastern sky on November 7, around 4.30 am (Eastern Australia Summer Time).

Waning Balsamic Moon aligned to Jupiter-Mars-Venus November 7 about 4.30 am

Waning Balsamic Moon aligned to Jupiter-Mars-Venus on November 7 about 4.30 am

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SATURN will be difficult to spot in November, getting closer and closer to the western horizon in the evenings. He will in fact align with the Sun at the end of November, to turn into a Morning Star in December.

The Waxing Crescent Moon will align with Saturn on November 13, a chance to spot faint Saturn before he disappears from view. Here is the Stellarium’s snapshot of this event, looking West at around 7.30 pm.

Waxing Crescent Moon aligned to Saturn November 13 about 7.30 pm

Waxing Crescent Moon aligned to Saturn on November 13 about 7.30 pm

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https://livingmoonastrology.files.wordpress.com/To view previous STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN’s and other sky-watching posts please navigate to the Archive HERE

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:

Mudgee Observatory

Earth-Sky

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June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

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VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer post).

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MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon, reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars.Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

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JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

******

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

*******

JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


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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://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

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

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

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JUNE 15: Venus has

October 2015, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern skies

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Van Gogh Starry Night golden

October 2015 planetary highlights

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Jupiter GlyphJupiter no background

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VENUS, MARS and JUPITER are still the stars of the pre-dawn sky, remaining aligned throughout the month of October. Venus is of course still the brightest, rising one hour before the Sun early in the month and two hours at the end. Our sister planet will reach Maximum Elongation (furthest distance from the Sun disk, from earth viewpoint) on October 26.

Venus will be at her closest to giant Jupiter also on October 26 and to Mars on October 31.

A remarkable event in October will be the Occultation of Venus by the Waning Moon, on October 9. The Moon will glide between the Earth and Venus, hiding our Sister Planet from view from about 4,30 to 6 am, in Eastern Australia. Venus will disappear behind the Moon for nearly one and half hours, a spectacle not to be missed, a sort of Venus Eclipse!

Below is a Stellarium’s snapshot of the Eastern sky on October 9, around 5.25 am, Occultation time.

Click the sky scapes to see larger images

Ocotber 9 2015 Moon occultation Venus + Mars-Jupiter-Regulus

Snapshot of Eastern Sky on October 9 2015, around 5.25 am, Eastern Australia: Moon’s Occultation of Venus

MARS will rise earlier and earlier in the course of October.

MARS and JUPITER will appear at their closest on October 18 as shown in the picture below:

Ocotber 18 2015 Mars-Jupiter Conjunction

Mars conjunct Jupiter early morning of October 18 2015

VENUS and MARS will be perfectly aligned on October 31 instead, as in the image below:

Ocotber 31 2015 Venus-Mars Conjunction

Venus conjunct Mars on the early hours of October 31 2015

*MERCURY: if you didn’t spot little Mercury in September, while it was at its brightest setting after the Sun in the West, you have missed out for the time being. Mercury is in fact now a Morning Star, after reaching its Inferior Conjunction to the Sun on October 1. This Planet will be very hard to spot in October immersed as it is in the Sun rays before dawn. Mercury will return to the Western sky, setting after the Sun, only on November 18, day of its Superior Conjunction to the Sun.

 
Saturn remains visible throughout October in the North West, after sunset. An event that will make it easy to spot our ringed friend will be the alignment with the Waxing Moon, on October 16. Here is the Stellarium image of this conjunction:

Ocotber 16 2015 Moon-Saturn Conjunction

Waxing Moon aligned to Saturn on October 16 2015, around 8.30 pm, Eastern Australia

https://livingmoonastrology.files.wordpress.com/To view previous STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN’s and other sky-watching posts please navigate to the Archive HERE

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:

Mudgee Observatory

Earth-Sky

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June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

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VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer post).

*******

MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon, reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars.Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

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JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

******

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

*******

JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


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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://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

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

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

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JUNE 15: Venus has

Stars over Wollumbin Archive

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Stars over Wollumbin, December 13 to 15, the Geminid meteors shower

The Geminid meteor shower will reach its peak on December 13,14 and 15, but some of its meteors could be glimpsed between December 6 and 19. Unfortunately the big Waning Moon (Disseminating Phase, after the Full Moon on December 10) may conceal many of its shooting stars (up to 80/120 per hour! One of the best meteors showers of the year). The spectacle will be worth the effort of rising early though, especially if you live away from city lights.

The constellation of Gemini, from which this shower radiates, rises before midnight in mid-latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, so there would be many hours of opportunity for observation. The shooting stars will appear to generate in the vicinity of Castor (with Pollux, one of the Twin stars of the constellation Gemini), situated just below the Moon for southern observers. These meteors actually originate from the Asteroid Phaeton, an unusual occurrence because most showers come instead from comets.

For more information about the Astronomy of Astrology please navigate from HERE to the Stars over Wollumbin December 2011 page.

November 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern Skies

November is a great month for observing the evening and night skies.

King Jupiter is the brightest, visible for great part of the night

Venus sets later every evening in the West, becoming more brilliant

Mercury remains visible the whole month, setting after the Sun in the West

Red Mars is up a few hours before sunrise

Saturn will make his first appearance at the end of November in the pre dawn sky

Other events

~ a close encounter with Asteroid Lutetia (a once in 30 years event), coming our way on November 8 ~

~ a massive Sun Spot ~ Meteors Showers ~ a Partial Solar Eclipse ~


I haven’t been able to update the Stars over Wollumbin page and the skyscapes of observable events (right sidebar’s link) since September. I am still keen on these regular features. I’ll try my best to continue updating them. Writing these posts help me, and hopefully my readers too, to stay in touch with the ‘real’ celestial bodies, getting a sense of their visible, tangible magic.

*MERCURY: transiting Tropical Sagittarius this month Mercury can be observed, with Venus, against the backdrop of Scorpio constellation. For the first two weeks of November it will be easy to spot Mercury because of his vicinity to Venus, especially for people in the Southern Hemisphere. Mercury will reach a magnitude of – 0.3 compared with much brilliant Venus, -3.9, and appear southward and nearly parallel to Venus in our southern regions. A few minutes ago I had them both framed by my caravan’s window!

Now Evening Star, after becoming Stationary Retrograde on November 23, Mercury will conjunct the Sun on December 4 (Inferior Conjunction). Our Little Brother will afterwards re-emerge in the dawn twilight, very close to the eastern horizon, in early December. The Crescent Moon will be appear close to Mercury in the evening sky on November 26.


VENUS: Venus is again queen of the evening sky, but Jupiter, in the opposite hemisphere, surpasses her in brilliance in November. She is gradually separating from the Sun this month, climbing the sky higher every evening, from West to East, reflecting more sunlight back to Earth and thus becoming brighter.

Mercury is doing just the opposite, nearing the Sun and edging toward the western horizon.

Venus will be at her maximum brightness in April 2012, having reached  maximum elongation or longitudinal distance from the Sun, at the end of March. The Crescent Moon will be close to Venus in the evening sky on November 27.

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*MARS: in November Mars will be visible only for a few hours, rising about 2 am in Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, and remaining pretty close to the horizon. The dark hour just before dawn will be the best time to spot Mars because then he will be higher in the sky.

Another chance to recognize the Red Planet will be on November 10 when it will be conjunct the alpha star of Leo, Regulus, the Little King; and also on November 17/18, night of the Leonid Meteorite Shower, when the Last Quarter Moon may hinder the shooting stars’ view while making Mars more obvious.



JUPITER: the brightest planet this month, after the Sun opposed him on October 28, Jupiter is now already high in the North-Eastern sky by sunset. The Giant Planet will set earlier every night as we near December, descending toward the West.

Jupiter is transiting between the constellation of Aries (the Ram), Pisces (the Fish) and Cetus (the Whale). The Moon will be visually close to Jupiter on November 8/9.

November 2011 is not be the best month to spot SATURN, as the Ringed Planet will remain very close to the Eastern horizon, mainly lost in the pre dawn twilight until the middle of the month, particularly in Southern Hemisphere latitudes. Saturn is however slowly climbing the sky, not completely invisible as it was the case in October. By the end of the month it will become easier to observe Saturn, a not so bright Morning Star in the East.

Throughout the month Saturn will transit in the vicinity of the alpha star of Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the maiden’s hand. To make sure to find both the planet and the star, wait until November 22 when the Waning Crescent Moon will be close to them just before sunrise.


Other major astronomical events in November

Two Meteors Showers are expected this month, the Taurid and the Leonids. The first reached its peak in early November, but some shooting stars could still be observed until the middle of November, coming from the Pleiades and Hyades clusters, near the constellation of Taurus. There aren’t that many shooting stars in this shower but they are sometimes quite bright.

The Leonid Shower can be active between November 13 and 20 instead, reaching its peak on November 17/18. This shower displays 25 to 40 meteors per hour, usually not very bright, but prone to occasional outbursts (meteors’ storms).

Best time for viewing the Leonids will be after 3 am. The Last Quarter Moon, on November 17/18 may actually hinder this shower’s view, the Moon transiting in between the front paws of the celestial lion on the night of the 18th, just above Mars and Regulus.

A massive Sunspot (called AR1339) was detected by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on November 3. It is apparently 80,000km x 40,000km, many times bigger than planet Earth.

The Sunspot is expected to face the Earth during the second week in November, possibly causing intense solar flares that in turn could affect our electrical power grids and the working of our satellites. A big Solar Flare was already detected on November 6.

Enough for a week? I think so!

For more information about this Sunspot please navigate to this SpaceWeather’s article HERE.

And fro a historical take on Sun Spots and Flares please navigate to some interesting article on space.com HERE.

A Partial Solar Eclipse in the Tropical Sign of  Sagittarius is on the cards for the New Moon of November 25. This Eclipse will be visible only partially from some places in New Zealand, Tasmania and South Africa and nearly in its entirety across Western Antarctica. The series to which this Eclipse belongs started near the North Pole in 1074 and will end in 2084 at the South Pole.

For more information about this Eclipse please navigate to this Wikipedia article HERE.

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

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

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

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

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September 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern Skies

Not as many planets will be visible in the September’s sky,

while the now famous comet Elenin will be the center of attention to many,

for all the wrong reasons.

*MERCURY formed his Inferior Conjunction with the Sun, moving between the Earth and the Sun, on August 16, and re-emerged in the pre-dawn sky at the end of August.


Our Little brother will become visible for a short time in early September.

It will be possible to observe Mercury around September 9, looking East, just before sunrise, when it will be very close to Regulus, alpha star of the Leo constellation, but only in a place with a very low and clear horizon.

After the middle of September Mercury will disappear in the Sun’s glow once more, to make his last appearance of 2011 as a Evening Star, from the end of October to late November.

From early December Mercury will be again a Morning Star.

VENUS: September will not be a good month to observe Venus. After her Superior Conjunction to the Sun in mid-August (as Mercury was forming his Inferior Conjunction) Venus has become again the Evening Star, but she is still too close to the western horizon this month to allow for easy observation.

Venus will show off in her full glory only from mid-October, cruising longer and longer the evening sky after sunset, becoming brighter until April 2012 (maximum elongation, or longitudinal distance from the Sun, happening at the end of March).

MARS: only very early risers will be able to observe Mars in September, just above the Eastern horizon, against the backdrop of the Twins constellation.

Mars will rise around 3 am at the start of the month, and a bit earlier at the end, moving from the middle of Gemini to the middle of Cancer.

The Red Planet will be more easily identified around Equinox time, September 22 and 23, when the Waning Moon will pass close by him and the stars Pollux and Castor (Gemini), and Procyon (Canis Minor).

Mars will continue to rise before the Sun until 2012.

JUPITER: Jupiter rises after 10 pm, at the start of Septemeber, and about 9 pm at the end of the month. He then navigates the night sky ’til morning.

The best time to observe Jupiter will be the hours before dawn. The giant planet can be found against the backdrop of Aries, the constellation of the Ram.

On September 15 and 16 Jupiter is easily spotted close to the still big Waning Moon and the star Hamal, alpha of Aries.

SATURN, the planet that has dominated the night sky since March, is now edging closer to the western horizon, ready to completely disappear from view in October.

If you happen to have a very low and uncluttered horizon, you could still spot Saturn at the start of September, an hour or so after sunset, with the backdrop of Virgo constellation, below bright Spica, the ear of corn in the maiden’s hand.


VESTA: the asteroid Vesta, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, has had her yearly opposition to the Sun on August 5, the best time for observation, the Sun illumining her globe more fully.

It is still possible however to spot Vesta even with the naked eye, better with a pair of binoculars though (magnitude 6). Her relatively fast track in the sky can be followed in September through the constellations of Capricorn. She will be already high in the sky after sunset.

The Waxing Moon will pass close to Vesta on September 8/9. Look for them overhead and then going westward, between 7 pm and 3 am.

ELENIN: in regard to the much talked about Elenin, comet or pseudo red dwarf, harbinger of doomsday or higher consciousness, I refer the reader to a comment I posted in answer to a query on the subject: My view on ELENIN.

As far as observing Elenin with the naked eye, the 22 and 23 of September have been indicated as the best times. But the comet will be around the constellation of Virgo, very close to the setting Sun and for most lost in the glare.

*******

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://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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The Scorpio Full Moon of May 17, 2011

Click to enlarge. See note at the end of this article

It is the annual Scorpio Full Moon, always an emotionally loaded time, when we need to face stuff about ourselves and our relationships that may be difficult to wear, but also when we may achieve real intimacy because we are more ready to take emotional risks and to be honest about our feelings.

To add intensity and depth on Full Moon day the Sun and Moon are also aligned to Algol, a star in the Perseus constellation better known as Medusa or Medusa’s Head, symbol of great passion, but with potentially dangerous undertones, as the head of the Gorgon was girdled in poisonous snakes and her stare paralyzing.

The Signs directly aligned to this phase are, of course, Scorpio and Taurus, in particular Taurus born May 15 to 18, and Scorpio born November 18 to 21. Also Leo, born August 18 to 21, Aquarius, born February 14 to 17, Virgo, born September 18 to 21, and Capricorn, born January 17 to 20. Or anyone with the Moon, Chart’s Angles and/or planets around the 25th, 26th and 27th degrees of the above Signs.

It could be a great time of the year to explore the nature of emotional and material attachments and dependencies and do something about them, because the Scorpio Moon is never happy with superficial or indifferent explanations, intent at revealing instead what we kept secret even to ourselves. The result could be a deepening of our awareness of who we are, our feelings for someone or something, a creative project or job we have embraced, or any other type of commitment. Or it could spell a depressive personal period, or the end of relationships and projects that haven’t lived to our expectations and that now reveal their shortcomings in a glaring light.

The idealization of life and love is definitely over at the time of a Scorpio Full Moon, while we may be filled with a new sense of purpose and personal power, unless too entangled in emotional dramas. Positively meeting the shadow will bring us closer to becoming whole.

Before Scorpio it is like the time before eating the apple of the knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. In Scorpio we meet the tempting Serpent, we will never be the same again.

This year a difficult angle Sun-Moon-Neptune could however fog somewhat our quest for truth, tempting us into some escape route in order not to face things. Positively the Neptune’s contacts may introduce instead an element of compassion and a feeling of unity, if we are inspired from a higher source.

This is an important phase in the yearly cycle as it does coincides with the shift into Taurus of the three closest celestial bodies to planet Earth ; anticipating in turn the all important shift of Jupiter in the same Earth Sign, on June 4/5 (depending where you are).

Mercury, Venus and Mars in Taurus are all approaching a distance of 120 degrees (trine) to Pluto in Capricorn and of 60 degrees (sextile) to Chiron in Pisces, other testimonies that this Full Moon and the fortnight following will present many opportunities for embracing changes, regenerating and healing our lives in profound ways. These transits will facilitate decisions that may be otherwise too difficult to contemplate.

Here is the Full Moon Chart, calculated with the coordinates of Wollumbin, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

Click to enlarge

The Scorpio Full Moon in Mundane Astrology. aligned with Algol, Israel’s Sun and Bin Laden’s Mars

Talking Mundane Astrology, the branch of the Art delving into world affairs and collective events, the many planets recently shifted or ready to shift from fiery Aries to earthy Taurus rise hopes for a more stable and not so volatile period for the world.

Nonetheless the Scorpio Full Moon promises to be a rather intense and difficult event, due to the challenging aspects to Neptune in early Pisces and the close conjunction to the beta star of the Perseus constellation, the much malingered Algol, head of the mythical Medusa.

Neptune at right angle to Sun and Moon promises some chaotic events and dramatic fluctuations and turbulence, in the weather, especially in coastal places and islands, and also in politics, social affairs, finance. Despite the sobering and down to earth Taurus energy prevailing at this time, energy that should help to consolidate our position and make us feel collectively more secure and grounded, emotionalism and irrationality may prevail for a while around this phase, and throughout the Waning fortnight.

The Sun and Moon are also in aspect to both Jupiter in Aries and Saturn in Libra, indicating the need to reconcile, at this critical time, the collective drive toward expansion and growth, focused on future development and improvements (Jupiter), and the need for exercising caution and forethought every step of the way (Saturn).

Jupiter and Saturn have moved out of their historical opposition only recently and in this occasion, noting their mutual relationship to Sun and Moon (respectively in semi-sextile and quincux to Jupiter, and semi-square and sesqui-quadrate to Saturn) I have found them to be linked by the rarely used angle of 165 degrees, sometimes called the Johndro’s aspect (because it was Edward L. Johndro (1882-1951) who first ‘discovered it’s astrological effect). In the Full Moon Horoscope above you can see it indicated by a dotted maroon line marked by the letter A, linking Jupiter and Saturn. This is considered a difficult aspect conducive to obsessive behavior and upheavals. With this aspect in mind it seems that the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn will remain a difficult one, at least for a time.

Going back to Algol, one nation that could be particularly susceptible to the power of this Full Moon, aligned with Algol, will be the state of Israel, founded on May 14 1948, with both the Sun and Ascendant conjunct Algol, so that the transiting Full Moon will be on Israel’s Descendant, the House of relationships and open enemies. Remaining in the Middle East also Lebanon is sensitized to Algol having been born with this difficult star on its Saturn.

Also Ireland, recently again thorn by sectarian violence, could be on the lookout for trouble with the Full Moon conjunct Ireland’s Venus in Scorpio, while the Sun and Moon are at right angle (square) to Ireland’s Mars, on the 26th degree of Aquarius (using the Ireland Independence Chart cast for December 6 1922, 5 pm).

Also significant, I feel, is the fact that in Bin Laden’s Natal Chart Mars was conjunct Algol, a contributing factor in this man terrorist activities and ideologies that have inspired and are still inspiring fundamentalist Muslims all overt the world. Studying the Charts of people who have passed away, I have many times found out eery connections with events in the present time. Now I fear that the intensity of Algol at this critical time may inflame fanatics bent on revenging the assassination of Bin Laden.

A great page on the mundane effects of Algol, from Diana K Rosenberg’s site, can be found HERE.

I have flipped upside down the image of this striking colossal head of Medusa, found, neck up, at the base of a column in a Roman water cistern built by the emperor Justinian in Istanbul. Putting the Gorgon’s head straight up I’m symbolically restoring  the power, beauty and dignity to Medusa, the traditional symbol of feminine spite and revenge, originally of feminine power and passion.

This head and others found in the same place were carved from huge boulders and transported, from unknown places and for unknown reasons, to the dark and damp underworld of this ancient cistern, where they seems strangely at home, thanks to the Gorgons’ dark mythical tale.

We can hope that powerful Medusa, conjunct the Sun and opposed by the Moon during the Full Phase, may bring awareness and wisdom rather then suffering, resentment, revenge.

April 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern Skies

While Venus still dominates the pre-dawn sky, Mercury and Mars are making their first tentative appearance there.

Saturn is left alone to reign supreme over the night sky, and invisible Jupiter rises and sets with the Sun

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MERCURY meets the Sun at Inferior Conjunction, on April 10. Being very close to the Sun until then and for a while after our little brother will return to visibility as a Morning Star only at the end of April, very low on the eastern horizon, at a dim +0.9 magnitude.

Mercury will rise before the Sun until late May.

VENUS remains the beautiful Morning Star until June 2011.  She has now reached her Gibbous Phase, becoming fuller but also smaller over the next few weeks.

In our mid-southern latitudes she will rise about 2 hours 40 minutes before sunrise at the start of April and two hours 10 minutes at the end of the month, still high enough above the eastern horizon for great observations.

Venus will pass the boundary of the constellation of Aquarius around April 10, entering then the outer regions of Pisces, transiting to the middle of this elongated constellation until the end of the month.

Here is a sky-scape of Venus, taken on April 15, looking toward the East, at around 5.15 am.

Click to enlarge

After disappearing from the night sky in December MARS will re-emerge before dawn around the middle of April, but still very low above the eastern horizon, hard to spot for a while longer in the twilight hour.

The Red planet will become well visible again as a Morning Star in mid-May 2011, rising before the Sun until 2012.

JUPITER has been lost in the Sun glow since the Aries Equinox (March 21). He will pass behind the Sun, at Inferior Conjunction, on April 6, remaining invisible until the end of April, when it may be glimpsed, very low above the eastern horizon, before sunrise. We will have better views of the Giant Planet in May.

The Sun will reach its yearly opposition to SATURN on April 4, the day of the Aries New Moon.  For now on Saturn will rise as the Sun sets and sets as the Sun rises, remaining visible all night, and at its most elevated around midnight.

April begins the period of maximum brightness for Saturn. The Ringed Planet will be as close to planet Earth as it can be, best time for obervation. With a decent pair of binoculars or a small telescope the rings of Saturn can be now seen, as well as the Moon Titan, the one moon in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere.

Saturn will be magnitude +0.4 at the beginning of April and +0.5 at the end of the month. It appears as a slightly yellow star, still transiting over the constellation Virgo, closely aligned to bluish Spica, Virgo’s alpha star, and above bright and orange hued Arcturus, alpha of constellation Bootes. As you can see in this sky-scape, taken on April 15, around 8.30 pm, looking North-East. The Waxing Moon will also be there.

Click to enlarge

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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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March 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our southern skies

March: an opportunity to watch little brother Mercury and big brother Jupiter shine together in the evening sky.

Best planetary conjunction of the year.

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MERCURY met the Sun at Superior Conjunction, on February 25, and now in March is returning to the evening sky for a brief spell.

He will be  Morning Star again in late April, until late May.

Mercury will start the month still lost in the glare of the Sun, but it will become visible again, after sunset, from March 7 or 8, depending on where you are.  If you have a fairly low western horizon you will be able to observe the alignment of the tiny waxing Moon, Jupiter and Mercury, closer to the horizon than the other two, shining at magnitude -1.4.

Apart from this alignment the evening appearance of Mercury will be the finest we will get of this elusive planet in 2011.

Here is a snapshot of this event, taken on March 7, around 7 pm, looking West. And underneath another snapshot, taken on March 10, around the same time. You can see, comparing these pictures, how Mercury is getting visibly closer to Jupiter every day (while losing a bit in brightness), while the waxing Moon, bigger by the hour, continues her journey North-East.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Finally, on March 15, Mercury and Jupiter will be conjunct, a couple of degrees apart, shining respectively at magnitude -0.9 and -2.1. This will be the best planetary conjunction in the evening sky for the remaining of the year. After this event Jupiter will sink toward the West, eventually disappearing in the light of the setting Sun toward the end of the month. Mercury too will disappear soon after Jupiter, during the last week of March.

Here is a sky-scape of the march 15 conjunction, taken at around twenty to seven in the evening, looking West. If you miss this chance, no to worry. Little brother and big brother will be aligned for a while longer, providing great views for another week or so.

Click to enalrge

VENUS is the Morning Star until June 2011. She will rise about three hours before the Sun at the start of the month, and 2 hours 45 minutes before sunrise by the end of March; her brilliance slowly becoming absorbed by the Sun’s as the month advances.

Venus will move from the edge of the constellation of Sagittarius, at the beginning of the month (where she met the Waning Moon) to the middle of the constellation Capricorn, in mid-March, to finally reach the middle of the constellation of Aquarius, at the end of March.

Here is a snapshot of Venus, taken at around 5.30 in the morning, on March 15 2011, against the backdrop of the constellation of Capricorn. Notice to the South-East of Venus Fomalhaut, one of the four Sacred Stars of the Persians, in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus or Australis (not to be confused with Pisces which contains two fish). This group of stars was known as the Great Fish, supposedly drinking the water from the Water Bearer’s jug.  Also you can locate in the picture, not visible to the naked eye, Vesta, one of the four largest Asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Click to enlarge

MARS has disappeared from the sky in December, reaching its conjunction with the Sun in early February.

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

JUPITER will disappear from view earlier and earlier every night during March 2011. This month is in fact the last time we will be able to spot Jupiter in the West after sunset, because by month-end he will be too close to the Sun for observation. Jupiter will be lost in the Sun’s glare around March 21, Equinox time.

His conjunction with Mercury, the best pairing this year, will be the last of Jupiter’s shows for a while.

The Sun will reach its conjunction to Jupiter in early April, after which Jupiter will return as a Morning Star, rising before the Sun in early May.

SATURN is still on the opposite side of Jupiter, in the East after sunset, while Jupiter prepares to set in the West.

The Ringed Planet will reign supreme over the night skies until late September 2011.

Due to retrogradation, slowing Saturn’s speed, the planet will appear mostly stationary against the backdrop of Virgo constellation.

The Sun will reach the opposition to Saturn in early April, period of maximum brightness for all planets outside the Earth’s orbit. From Earth’s viewpoint Saturn and the Sun will be then opposite each other, Saturn rising as the Sun sets and viceversa. This occurs when the Earth passes between them once a year, marking the best time for naked eye observation of Saturn (or any of the celestial bodies outside the Earth’s orbit).

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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

The Astrology of the New Zealand Earthquake, February 22, 2011

Another natural disaster, not so far from home. Christchurch, second largest city in New Zealand, was hit by a deadly earthquake on Tuesday, February 22, 12.51 pm (local New Zealand’s Summer time, 13 hours East of Greenwich).

Christchurch’s region lays on the so called Pacific Ring of Fire, stretching from the South Pacific through Papua New Guinea, South-East Asia, all the way to the North and South-West coast of the American continent.

Along the 40.000 km rim are found 453 active volcanoes. Tectonic plates collide on a regular basis along this rim.

New Zealand is hit by earth tremors whenever the adjoining Pacific and Australian plates collide, which happens often, not always with such devastating results (pictures compliment of abc.net.au and History.com).

This quake wasn’t as powerful (6.3 magnitude) as  the one that occurred in the same place, on September 4, 2010 (7.1 magnitude), but it was shallow, 5 km deep, and the epicenter only 10 km south of the town.

Seventy five bodies have been recovered so far, but many more people are still listed as missing, so the death toll is likely to rise.

Even Christchurch 19th century cathedral, together with many modern buildings, now lay in ruins.

Here is the Chart of the moment the deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck.

We are looking here at the earthquake as a moment in time. This Chart has been cast with the coordinates of Lyttelton, the quake’s epicenter.

Christchurch/Lyttelton’s Earthquake, February 22, 2011, 12, 51 pm

Click to enlarge

I immediately recognized similarities between this Horoscope and that of Yasi, the category 5 cyclone that hit North Queensland on February 3 2011. Here is my Cyclone Yasi post, if interested.

In both instances the Fixed Signs were on the Four Angles when disaster struck (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-Heaven and Lower Heaven); with the so called Violent Signs of Taurus and Scorpio on the Horizon: Taurus on the Ascendant in Christchurch, and Scorpio, its complementary opposite Sign, on the Ascendant in Tully. Taurus was on the Ascendant in Tully too, by the way, at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, at midday on the same day as the cyclone.

As I stated on the post on Yasi, Taurus and Scorpio, and the Fixed Signs in general, are traditionally linked to violent events, such as quakes, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather, accidents and conflicts. These Signs in fact offer more resistance to change than other Signs, therefore the impact of whatever happens becomes more obvious when they are involved in any configuration.

Another similarity is the prominent position of the largest Asteroid Ceres, conjunct the Sun and Moon at the time of the cyclone, and most elevated of all celestial bodies at the time of the NZ earthquake.

Ceres was known to the Greeks as Demeter, ancient Goddess of Fertility, one of Goddesses representative of Mother Earth. She was venerated as the Goddess of the Harvest and also of Mourning, because of her connection with the Persephone myth. Persephone, once known simply as Kore, the Maiden, was in fact Demeter’s daughter, the same who was kidnapped by Hades (the Roman Pluto), God of the underworld; the same for whom the mother mourned during the barren winter months, until she was returned to her in the spring time. Ceres’ prominent position in this particular Horoscope doesn’t seem a positive sign as far as the quake’s final death toll is concerned.

In the earthquake Chart what really sticks out is the cluster of celestial bodies between the end of Aquarius and the beginning of Pisces, all in the prominent Tenth House or very close to it: Mars and Neptune are conjunct on the 28th and 29th degrees of Aquarius, while Mercury, Chiron and the Sun are conjunct on the first degrees of Pisces.

The conjunction of the Sun and Mercury to Chiron and the approaching one of Mars to Chiron are strengthening the notion that Chiron relates to collective suffering and the need to accept unavoidable pains in this far from perfect world.

The conjunction Mars-Neptune is the most interesting aspect, being very close to the Mid-Heaven at the time, with Ceres most elevated of all planets, and also because they are connected by aspect to Uranus, on the 29th degree of Pisces, and the Lunar Nodes on the 29th degree of Sagittarius and Gemini. This means, of course, that Uranus is in perfect 90 degrees angle (square) to the Nodes, just as he prepares to enter Aries for good (March 12).

Uranus is the King of the Unexpected and the Sudden, those events, in life and within our human psyche, which seem to happen without a warning, out of the blue, with often destructive results, forcing, as it were, major adjustments, through shocks and abrupt u-turns that can leave us shaken and changed in profound ways.The fact that Uranus is now on the cusp of the most active and impulsive Sign of the Zodiac is not help, but rather enhance the violent character of some of the events connected with it.More of this type of events can be expected during Uranus’ 7 years transit through Aries, in particular perhaps from June 2011 when Jupiter will enter the earthquake Sign of Taurus.

We shouldn’t forget also that, while Mars, Neptune and Ceres are on the Mid-Heaven, Uranus actually rules, together with Saturn, the Sign of Aquarius on the cusp of the Mid-heaven, symbolically deciding the nature of the outcome or the outward manifestation of that particular moment.

Not only Uranus is here at right angle to the Nodes, symbolizing the collective destiny of the time, but the Nodes happen to be in the VIII House of Death and Loss, together with Pluto, God of the underworld. To add to this, Mars, a well known catalyst, whose role is often to precipitate events, is connected to the same Uranus (semi-sextile) and Lunar Nodes (sextile and trine), but also to Pluto, via a minor aspect known as a Septile (51.4 degrees distance, based on the division of the circle by 7), an aspect indicative of transcendental influences at work.

I would like to explore a little the importance of the Nodes in this Chart. As you know the Lunar Nodes are connected to Eclipses, their positions showing where Eclipses occur at any given times. The fact that Uranus and Mars are here linked by aspect to the Nodes means then that there is a relation between the earthquake and recent Eclipses too, in particular the Total Lunar Eclipse that occurred on December 21, 2010, the day of the Capricorn Solstice (important date often used to forecast events in the year ahead). That Eclipse happened on the 29th degree of the Signs Gemini (Moon) and Sagittarius (Sun).

Obviously both Mars and Uranus are very much linked with this all important Eclipse event, because same degrees along the zodiacal wheel are always connected by aspect and meaning. In this case Uranus is linked to the Lunar Eclipse by square and Mars by trine and sextile. We can say then that, at the moment of the quake, the time was ripe for what had been already promised by the Eclipse.

The correlation between Uranus (sudden -destructive events), the Lunar Nodes (collective destiny), and Mars (cosmic catalyst) appears even more significant when we look at the December Eclipse Chart relocated to Christchurch. Here is this amazing Chart.

Total Lunar Eclipse of December 21, 2010, in Christchurch, New Zealand

Click to enlarge

The Lunar Eclipse was right on the horizon of Christchurch, with the Full Moon rising on the East, just as the Eclipse began, while the Sun was setting in the West! Both Sun and Moon were, at the time, at right angle (squares) to the conjunction Jupiter Uranus on the Mid-Heaven, while Mars was then separating from a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn!

Another aspect of this configuration, which I feel is important, is the nature of the degrees we are considering, being the last degrees of  some of the Signs involved, cusps between Signs, degrees of change and transformation. These Cusp degrees are sometimes called Critical Degrees, indicating moment of crisis and change for the function of the planet/s placed there. We have seen many of these last or Cusp Degrees activated recently, with all the Full Moons, since September 2010, happening on a Cusp between Signs, the last, few days before the earthquake, on February 18, with the Moon on the 29th degree of Leo, Cusp Virgo, and the Sun on the 29th degree of Aquarius, Cusp Pisces. This last Full Moon was also closely involved with Mars and Neptune, as they were both conjunct the Sun.

These considerations seem to indicate that the conjunction Mars-Neptune was very significant for this event (as well as the recent conjunction of Sun and Mercury also to Neptune, and their passage into the Water Sign of Pisces). A literal reading of such a conjunction could be ‘accidents at sea’. Now Lyttelton, the quake’s epicenter, is a coastal village, and New Zealand is made up of two major islands, a place surrounded by sea.

Another observation that also seem to put the Critical or Cusp Degrees to the fore of this event is the fact that in the Birth Chart of New Zealand (January 17, 1853, midnight, Wellington) Pluto was on the 29th degree of Aries, and Mars on the 28th degree of Capricorn (conjunct the Sun), respectively in semi-sextile and sextile with transiting Uranus, and, of course, also connected with the recent Lunar Eclipse.

Below it is a two-wheels Chart, with New Zealand Constitution Chart in the inner wheel and the earthquake’s Chart in the outer wheel.

Christchurch/Lyttelton’s Earthquake and the Birth Chart of New Zealand

Click to enlarge

Many more observations can be made about this event from an astrological viewpoint: what about the fact that the Moon and Saturn were in the VI House of Work and Daily Routine. at the time of the quake? Compare this position with the Moon and Sun position in the Yasi event, in the IV House of Home. Most people (represented by the Moon in a Mundane Chart like this one) were busy at work or study the moment the quake hit, the building taking the more direct hit being office buildings, where rescue personnel are now looking for survivors.

Saturn was heavily aspected on the day too, 135 degrees (sesqui-square) to Chiron, the Sun and Mercury, in trine to the Mid-Heaven (and ruling it, with Uranus), still in square and Mutual reception to Venus in Capricorn, apart, of course, from his all important conjunction to the Moon.

The transiting Moon was also just separating from a conjunction to Saturn, Lord of karma, and from a 90 degrees angle to Venus in Capricorn (the latter still in orb of square to Saturn), all aspects that can manifest in sadness, pessimism and emotional hurt, especially as they activate the XII House in the New Zealand’s Birth Chart, a place where things need to be accepted because they cannot be changed, being beyond anyone’s control. Both the Moon and Saturn were transiting the so called Via Combusta (literally the burning path or road), the zodiacal area spanning from the middle of Libra to the middle of Scorpio. This area was considered unfortunate, having an effect similar to the negative effects of some Eclipses. This notion was probably derived from the presence of difficult Fixed Stars in this area of the Sidereal Zodiac (the Zodiac of the Constellations).

Out of pure Mercury in Gemini’s curiosity I looked up also the Birth Chart of the Anglican 19th century cathedral that was nearly completely destroyed by the quake.

I chose as the birth time the day the cathedral was consecrated, on November 1, 1881. Because I don’t know the time of the official event I have cast a Chart for sunrise on that day.

Here it is.

Christchurch Cathedral Consecration date, November 1, 1881, sunrise

Click to enlarge

This Chart is also very interesting, in the light of the recent events. The Sun was in Scorpio that day and in opposition to Saturn in Taurus (a difficult aspect for a building, Saturn signifying the structure of the same and its durability). We can observe even here the influence of the Fixed, Earthquake Signs of Scorpio and Taurus. The cathedral was damaged by an earthquake only one month after the consecration ceremony and, more severely, on occasion of the September 1, 1888 earthquake, and other earth tremors following.

Please note the position of the Moon, on the 28th degree of Aquarius, conjunct the transiting Neptune, Mars and Mid-Heaven of the recent quake’s Chart. That’s something!

I’m sure this chart could reveal more about the fate of this building, but I’m running out of time, and i can’t go there now.

One last important transit that I want to include in this reading is the powerful Jupiter square Pluto, that will be exact on Saturday, February 26, but has been close for days. This aspect definitely spells earthquake, as well as war and mayhem, all events that resonate well with this fateful week. Jupiter, as we know, tends to magnify the effects of all planets he comes in contact with, in this case Pluto, the symbolic ruler of the underworld, presiding over experiences of death, loss and transformation.

A positive outcome of this transit would be a strong stimulus toward radical reforms, including the toppling of people who abuse their power, or even organized crimes leaders, as it is has happened in Egypt, and now in Libya and many other countries in the Middle East. This transit also shows the possibility of a strong resistance from these same individual and the possibility of war and bloodshed.

But that’s another story, hopefully my next post.

Weekly Astrological Highlights: February 14 to 20, 2011

I’ve finally decided to introduce a Weekly Astrological Forecast to my Living Moon site. I have felt the need for such a regular feature for a while. Experiencing all sorts of troubles with my power supply had to put my plan for a time in the proverbial ‘too hard basket”.

Things have improved in the electric department so I begin my Weekly Readings in earnest, on an auspicious day, I hope, with the Moon in chatty Gemini and the Sun close to both Mars and Neptune, regaling me with extra energy, courage and, best of all, inspiration.

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Saint Valentine week, Full Moon week, Sun conjunct Neptune and Chiron week, Sun entering Pisces week!

Are we all going to feel more loving and cherish each other rightly? What the Stars say?

There are bigger events this week than on an average week. Here are the highlights.

Monday 14: today the Lunar Nodes enter the Signs of Sagittarius and Gemini, an important, perhaps life-changing transit for anyone with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Planets on the naught degree of the Cardinal Signs (Capricorn, Cancer, Aries, Libra), and the 29th degree of the Mutable Signs (Sagittarius, Gemini, Virgo, Pisces). A new Eclipse season is at hand, and with it fate is knocking at the door and claiming its due. Destiny changing events and realizations are now possible, the sort of things that could well alter the course of one’s life.

The last major Lunar Eclipse, on December 21 2010, occurred on the 29th degree of Gemini, bringing then the life-altering effects of the Nodes to life for these individuals. Today the Nodes align perfectly to that Eclipse, highlighting again the realizations that the Eclipse brought in its wake. A time then for profound discoveries about our place in the world, our relationships and the choices we constantly make, those that can influence the future in a big way.

The transit through Sagittarius (North Node) and Gemini (South Node) will be a long one, remaining active until early September 2012, in turn gaining influence over all individuals with a Mutable Signs emphasis in their Birth Charts.

I’m glad to have started my weekly regular feature on this very day, when one of the Node of destiny is hovering on my Birth Sun, prompting a change of direction.

For more information on the possible effects of the Lunar Nodes’ Transits please navigate from here to my previous post on ‘The Focus’ shift for future eclipses’.

On a different note today Mercury in Aquarius is forming a harmonious angle (120 degrees) to Saturn in Libra, also active tomorrow. This transit promotes serious communication, in depth study and the signing of important documents or contracts. The idealism of Mercury in Aquarius will become more grounded , finding suitable outlets to manifest in our everyday reality. This is a friendly transits, promoting communication between young and old, helping to bridge the generation gap for a time, and also individual gaps among people of differing opinions and beliefs.

Thursday 17: the Sun reaches its yearly conjunction with Neptune, on the 28th degrees of Aquarius. All planetary energies touched by the Sun via conjunction are made more conscious by the encounter. The Sun, with its quality of vision, brings the planet to life in order for us to integrate its function in our consciousness.

To become aware of Neptune means to become aware of the unity underlying manifestation, the identity of everyone soul to everyone’s else, and of all souls to the soul of the Earth, the Galaxy, the Universe. It is an unifying spiritual experience by which we dissolve the ‘normal’ boundaries of consciousness, and experience a larger, more fluid and also more paradoxical world, where two opposite views can be both right, where ugly is beautiful and rich is poor, for example. And also where what we see is not guaranteed to be really there.

Through Neptune we explore the depth of unconscious imagery via dreams, visions, ideals, fascinations with something or someone, aesthetic pleasures and Art. All experiences that can help us transcend the everyday, dissolving old rigid BW concepts in favour of a more inclusive, creative, inspired and colourful sense of reality.

If your birthday is today, yesterday or tomorrow Neptune’s energy will play an important role for you in the coming year. Negatively it might cloud your judgement at times, making you more gullible or more evasive and irresponsible. Positively this transit could help you to let go more easily of your emotional attachments to things and people, or simply attachment to a difficult past, by enhancing a genuinely spiritual feeling of acceptance, compassion and unconditional love, not just toward others but also yourself.

Friday 18: the Full Moon will be on the cusp Leo/Virgo (29 20’), with the Sun on the cusp Aquarius/Pisces. This is one in a series of 7 consecutive Full Moons, from September 2010 to March 2011 to happen on the cusp or boundary between two Signs.

Next month the Sun and Moon will not quite be on the 29th, but late on the 28th degree, slowly returning the Full phases to ‘normality’. Thus the February Full Moon is the last proper Cusp Event in this exceptional series. Perhaps we could breath a sigh of relief.

A round of the mill Full Moon involves principally two opposite-complementary Signs: the ones occupied by the Sun and the Moon respectively; plus, indirectly, the other two Signs at right angle (square) to Sun and Moon.

When the phase happens on a cusp between Signs, there are four Signs stimulated directly, instead than just two, and a further four stimulated indirectly, via right angle. That adds up to 8 Signs, out of a total of 12, strongly coloured by the Full Moon ( two thirds of the lot).

This months they will be the Signs of Leo, Aquarius, Virgo, Pisces, Taurus, Scorpio, Gemini, Sagittarius, in particular those born early in their Sun Sign period. And, of course, also anyone with Moon, Ascendant or Planets on the last degree of the Fixed Signs or the first degree of the Mutable Signs. This special Full Moon is your gift of awareness.

If the Full Moon is a symbol of climax, realization and even illumination, then many more people will have the opportunity to feel for themselves the transformative power of this phase, as it happened in the past months, when extraordinary mass events affected millions at the same time, in negative as well as positive ways, bringing with them unprecedented personal and collective realizations.

At the time of the Full Moon the Moon will be conjunct Regulus, the Little King in the Constellation of Leo. Regulus was one of the four Royal Stars of the ancient Persians, who identified it with the heart of the Lion and believe it to be the guardian of the Northern sky, a beautiful, bright golden Star, close to the Earth’s ecliptic.

The effect of a Full Moon can be felt throughout the Waning fortnight, until the New Moon in Pisces on March 5.

Saturday 19: Venus in Capricorn is at right angle (square) to Saturn in Libra today, active between Friday and Sunday.  This is a serious aspect for joyful and carefree Venus. During this planetary interaction we may be challenged to look realistically at our value system, our relationships, our careers. Not a time to be overly romantic or idealistic. Rather an opportunity to become more aware of co-dependency issues, of emotional and physical inhibitions that can stop us enjoying life, of the excessive importance we often give to practical matters and responsibilities in committed relationships, at the expense of loving. It could be easy to feel a bit melancholic or lonely under this influence.

For more information please CLICK HERE to navigate to my Venus in Capricorn’s post.

The most important event today is however the Sun’s Ingress into the Water Sign of Pisces, marking the last month (= Mutable Sign) of the Solstice season that began with the Capricorn Solstice on December 21 (end of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere and Winter in the Northern).

The month of Pisces, like the previous month of Aquarius, represents an opportunity for all to become more aware of our collective issues, at first through reason, logic and humanitarian ideals (Aquarius), and now through feelings of compassion and universal sympathy (Pisces). Pisces can help us to become identified with one another, recognizing our common humanness.

This is the last of the twelve astrological months, containing the spiritual essence of the months that have been before.  This period is the actual ground from which the new year will emerge at the Aries Equinox. It is then important to use this time wisely, to reflect on the past and then let it go, to forgive, forget, transcend, penetrate the spiritual lesson, accept, relinquish, acquiesce, to give ourselves a fresh start in the new year.

Sunday 20: the Sun in Pisces is conjunct Chiron, the second major solar transit this week and the first for the Sun in Pisces. Becoming conscious of Chiron means to open our eyes to the need for healing old wounds, or perhaps just accept that they are there, and that they have meaning, they enrich our lives even if we suffer them and wish them away.

Chiron has been defined as the rainbow bridge between our everyday reality (Saturn and all the planets within its orbit) and the realms of abstraction (Uranus), transcendence (Neptune) and pure power (Pluto). In order to become aware that this bridge even exists, vital link between known and unknown, we need to understand the ubiquity of suffering, perhaps in the sense the Buddhists understand life to be suffering and transcending its confines a state of liberation.

If you celebrate your birthday today, yesterday or tomorrow healing will be an important theme in your life this year: physical, psychological, spiritual, all forms of healing, even providing healing energy to others.

For a list of all Transits this week and for the rest of the month please CLICK HERE to the Monthly Transits Page

or HERE to navigate to the Astro-Calendar Page.

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.

Click to enlarge

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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JANAURY 2011, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKIES

January’s visible (and some invisible) Planets

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MERCURY became a Morning Star after meeting the Sun on December 20 (Inferior Conjunction).

Our little brother will rise before the Sun in the morning until early March 2011, returning as Morning Star only in late April.

On January 9 Mercury will reach maximum visual distance from the Sun, shining at – o.3 magnitude and could be spotted, low in the South-East, until the Sun comes up.

From November 2010 to June 2011 VENUS is donning her Morning Star’s bright mantle. During the month of January our sister planet will rise three hours before the Sun (around 3 am, Australia Eastern Summer Time), giving early risers plenty of time for observation.

On January 8 Venus will reach maximum visual distance from the Sun (47 degrees), just one day before Mercury does the same.

Venus will be the brightest object in the morning sky this month, reaching a magnitude of -4.6, ten times brighter than Jupiter!

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 in early February.

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 has a magnitude of -2.3 at the start of the month and dominates the sky after sunset. By month’s end Jupiter will set about 2 and half hours after the Sun.

Jupiter will slowly lose intensity and size as the month progresses, down to a -2.2 magnitude by the end of January.

The giant planet will be very very close to Uranus at the beginning of January, becoming conjunct with this remote world, for the third and last time, on the 4th, the day of the Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn. They will be less than a visual degree apart. The giant planet reaches a magnitude of -2.4, while Uranus is a much dimmer 6 magnitude, visible only with a good pairs of binoculars or through a telescope.

The first few days of January are better suited to spot Uranus because the eccentric planet will be only half a degree away from Jupiter. They will remain close for the rest of the month, visually one degree apart from each other. To spot them look for the bright one (Jupiter) just above the square of Pegasus, the Winged Horse Constellation.

Here is a Stellarium’s snapshot of the Jupiter-Uranus’ conjunction, taken on January 5, around 9 pm, looking West.

Jupiter and Uranus became conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodical cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, having  met twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

SATURN is a Morning Star now, rising about one am at the beginning of January and around 11 pm at the end of the month (Australian Eastern Summer Time).

The ringed planet’s brightness will increase slightly during the month. Viewed through a telescope the rings are opening up again now and the so called Cassini’s division (dark band between the two major rings’ groups) can be observed again.

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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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