DECEMBER 2010, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKY

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December’s visible (and some invisible) Planets

plus a TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON and TWO METEORS SHOWERS

 MERCURY turns Evening Star in December, until his encounter with the Sun on December 20 (Inferior Conjunction).

Our small brother will become first Stationary and then Retrograde between December 10 and 30.

Mercury transited very close to Mars at the end of November (visible conjunction on November 21, 22), and he will meet Mars again, in retro motion this time, on December 14. By then both planets will be low on the western horizon to be visible, too close to the glare of the setting Sun.

By December 13, Mercury will have disappeared as a Evening Star, only to re-appear early on Christmas day as a Morning Star.

It will rise at first half hour before sunrise,  ending up rising one and a quarter hours before the Sun by the end of December. It will remain visible until morning twilight to the end of the month and beyond.

Since November 4 VENUS has been rising before the Sun, a brilliant Morning Star in the company of Saturn. In December Venus will slowly distance herself from Saturn, powering ahead in direct motion. The day of greatest illumination will be December 4.

Throughout the month Venus will rise at first about two hours before the Sun and, by the end of December, around three hours before the Sun. She will disappear only in the morning twilight.

It could be worth while to get up early on December 2, and 4 to watch a beautiful display of Venus with the old Moon, Saturn and the Star Spica, aligned together in the East, around 4, 4.30 am (keep an eye on the Stargazing link here and on Living Moon opening page for sky-scapes of this and other events).

MARS is disappearing from the western horizon in December, more and more immersed in the light of the Sun, inching ever closer to the horizon. Mars will make his next appearance in the East, as a Morning Star before sunrise, in mid-April 2011, against the Pisces Constellation and in the Tropical Sign of Aries.

JUPITER can be readily spotted in in the night time in December, exceptionally bright with a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Our giant neighbor becomes visible around  7 pm in the evening and disappear around midnight, the Sun reaching a distance of 90 degrees from Jupiter on December 17.

With a pair of good binoculars we could even be able to spot far away URANUS, with Jupiter pulling close to the eccentric planet during December. Uranus appears as a bluish/green star-like object,the brightest in the vicinity of Jupiter.

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 will be visible after midnight throughout the month, and remain well visible, high in the sky, until sunrise.

DECEMBER’S METEORS SHOWERS

The GEMINIDS METEORS SHOWER will have its annual occurrence between December 6 and 19, with the period of high visibility and frequency around December 13 and 14. This is considered by many the best Meteors’ Shower of the year. It is known to produce 60 to 80 multi-coloured meteors per hour, at its peak. From locations away from artificial light there could be up to 120 meteors per hours!

The radiant point (from where the meteors seem to originate) will be in the Constellation Gemini, becoming visible before midnight toward the North-East. The Moon setting in the West at the same time will allow for a better show.

The known source of this shower is a strange object called Phaethon 3200, most probably a comet which became extinct a long time ago. The asteroid, that measures 5.10 km diameter, was discovered in 1983. Phaethon in Greek Mythology was the son of Helios, the Sun god, himself a demi-god who perished after attempting to get too close to the Sun in the chariot he had stolen from his father. The asteroid was named after him because it crosses the orbits of Earth, Venus and Mercury, and gets closer to the Sun than any other numbered asteroid.

The URSIDS METEORS SHOWER will occurs instead between December 17 and 24, with the peak on December 22. This is a less spectacular shower, with about 9, 10 meteors expected per hour, at peak. The shooting stars will appear to emanate from the constellation Ursa Minor, home to Polaris in the north. Because of their location the Ursids are not really visible from our Southern Hemisphere.

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON on December 21

This event will be visible mainly from North America and the west side of South America.

In most countries in Europe and Africa the Moon will be setting during the Eclipse proper. Only from Southern Scandinavia the Eclipse will be observable in its entirety.

In East Asia instead the Moon will be rising during the event.

People in South and East Africa, as well as in the Middle East and South Asia will not be able to witness the event. With the exception of Western Australia, where the Eclipse will not be visible at all, the rest of the continent will witness the event partially around Moon rise, with the Moon very close to the Eastern horizon. The total stages instead will be partially visible from New Zealand but not from Australia. In the northern parts of New Zealand the Eclipse will be visible in its totality. Further South only parts of the total stages will be visible.

Not the best Eclipse for the Southern hemisphere.

For more information on this Eclipse and others please navigate to the Nasa Eclipse Page 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:

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

July 2010, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKIES

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July, the month to observe five members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~

~ Mercury re-emerges as Evening Star in mid-July,

moving toward maximum elongation (and visibility) in early August ~

~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~

~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and until the early part of 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 reached its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28,and will re-emerge as an Evening Star in mid July, about thirty minutes after sunset. Southern observers are favoured this month, but to find Mercury  you will also need an unobstructed horizon, and perhaps a pair of good binoculars. Due to his low altitude and constant closeness to the horizon Mercury appears yellow reddish in colour, as the Sun when on the horizon. Mercury also tends to blink more than other planets, so that he can be easily taken for a star. Between July 12 and 14 the waxing Crescent Moon and Venus will appear close to Mercury in the evening sky, toward North-West, an opportunity to spot this elusive planet in the twilight of the day. On July 26 and 27 Mercury will be seen very close to Regulus, the alpha star of Leo constellation (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation (time of greatest visibility) on August 7, 2010.

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Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In July VENUS will set after 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes).

With a magnitude of -4.1, Venus is still the brightest planet, easily observed looking toward the west in the evening.  Finding Venus can also help us to spot other members of our solar family, as well as constellations and stars.

As evening deepens and Venus appears, the stars Castor and Pollux of Constellation Gemini will be setting low on the horizon. In line, up from brilliant Venus, is the alpha star of Leo, Regulus (that Venus will conjunct on 10/11 July), then reddish Mars, followed by golden Saturn and finally by Spica, the brightest star of Virgo Constellation. After the 11 July New Moon the waxing Moon will join the spectacle for about a week, becoming conjunct Venus on the 15, Mars and Saturn between the 16 and 17, and Spica on the 18 (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below)

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.

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MARS‘ light still diminishes this month, from magnitude +1.4 to + 1.5.

You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  around 9, 9.30 pm, depending on your view. It will be easily spotted on July 16 when it will be close to the waxing Moon (find snapshots in the July 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 in the East (magnitude – 2.6), rising just before midnight at the start of July and around 10 pm at the end of the month.

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 -2.6 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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Rising in the East around 11 am Saturn will set around 11 pm at the beginning of July, while, at the end of the month, it will rise around 9 am and set around 9 pm.

The ringed planet is now transiting between the Constellations of Leo and Virgo. It will shine at + 1.1 magnitude during the month. 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.

Mars will be conjunct Saturn on July 31 and in early August Venus will also join them in the evening sky (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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

JULY 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

JULY 4-5: the Moon can be observed very close to Jupiter (and invisible Uranus) between the Constellations of  Cetus (the Whale), Pegasus (the Winged Horse) and the Southern Fish of Pisces. The snapshot was taken on July 4, looking toward the East, around 1.30 am. The couple will remain visible well into daylight.

On JULY 5 the Moon will still be fairly close to Jupiter and her distance from him will tell you something about her daily motion and West-East direction.

Click to enlarge

JULY 8: The Waning Balsamic Moon (around 45 degrees behind the Sun) can be observed close to the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.

The Moon’s brightness may absorb the light of the fainter stars in the cluster, but the brightest should remain visible and clear, especially through binoculars.

At this phase the Moon will hopefully show the so-called Earthshine, a phantom image of the past or future (?) Full Moon.

This sky scape was taken early in the morning, around 5.30, looking toward the North-East.


JULY 10/11: these nights we can observe bright Venus conjunct the alpha star of  Leo Constellation, Regulus. The sky scape below was taken on July 9, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 13: the tiny Crescent Moon is conjunct Mercury in the dusk twilight, and in line with them, looking up, are Venus, and appearing as it gets darker, also Mars and Saturn.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking North-West, around 5.30 pm.

JULY 15: the waxing Crescent Moon can be observed close to Venus and moving toward Mars, Saturn and Spica, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 16: The waxing Moon will be visibly conjunct Mars and Saturn on July 16. The sky scape below was taken on the 16, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 18: Tonight we can observe the First Quarter Moon conjunct Spica, the alpha star of Constellation Virgo.

This snapshot was taken at around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

JULY 21: the waxing Moon can be seen very close to Antares, the brilliant alpha star of Scorpio Constellation. The conjunction will become visible as the sky darkens.

The snapshot below was taken around 6 pm, looking toward the east.


JULY 27: Mercury, very low on the western horizon, is perfectly conjunct the alpha star of constellation Leo, Regulus. Above, much brighter than Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are getting closer to each other (they will be at their closest, as a group, on August 7).

This snapshot was taken at about 6.30 pm, looking West, with a very low horizon, like that of a boat in the middle of the ocean.

Click to enlarge

JULY 31: Soon after entering the tropical Sign of Libra Mars will conjunct Saturn. Venus is close by, due to become conjunct Saturn on August 9 and Mars on August 21.

The three can be seen against the backdrop of Virgo Constellation. This snapshot was taken at around 6.15 pm, looking toward the North-West.

For more snapshots of observable astronomical events in 2010, please CLICK 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:

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/

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

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

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

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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

2010 Sky-scapes Archive

DECEMBER 21: TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE, 7.13 pm, Eastern Australia Summer Time.

Here are two sky-scapes of this event. The top one shows the Moon rising at around 8 pm, looking East-North-East, and the bottom one is from the same angle but taken half an hour later, around 8.30 pm.

Notice the reddish-rusty look of the Earth shadow over the Moon.

 

The Stellarium Sky-Scape above was taken around midnight on December 16, 2010, looking toward the North-East

DECEMBER 17 to 24: the URSIDS METEORS SHOWER will occurs instead between December 17 and 24, with the peak on December 22. This is a less spectacular shower, with about 9, 10 meteors expected per hour, at peak. The shooting stars will appear to emanate from the constellation Ursa Minor, home to Polaris in the north. Because of their location the Ursids are not really visible from our Southern Hemisphere.

DECEMBER 6 TO 19: the GEMINIDS METEORS SHOWER will have its annual occurrence between December 6 and 19, with the period of high visibility and frequency around December 13 and 14. This is considered by many the best Meteors’ Shower of the year. It is known to produce 60 to 80 multi-coloured meteors per hour, at its peak. From locations away from artificial light there could be up to 120 meteors per hours!

The radiant point (from where the meteors seem to originate) will be in the Constellation Gemini, becoming visible before midnight toward the North-East. The Moon setting in the West at the same time will allow for a better show throughout the night.

The known source of this shower is a strange object called Phaethon 3200, most probably a comet which became extinct a long time ago. The asteroid, that measures 5.10 km diameter, was discovered in 1983.

Phaethon in Greek Mythology was the son of Helios, the Sun god, himself a demi-god who perished after attempting to get too close to the Sun in the chariot he had stolen from his father (left: a 1636 master rendering of this myth by Paul Rubens – click to enlarge).

The asteroid was named after him because it crosses the orbits of Earth, Venus and Mercury, and gets closer to the Sun than any other numbered asteroid. The Earth passes amongst the debris of this comet every year, around mid December.

DECEMBER 14: the Waxing Moon is moving parallel to Jupiter (and invisible Uranus) tonight.

The sky scape below was taken around 10.30 pm, high in the North-West.

DECEMBER 2: the Waning Moon can be seen well (weather permitting), together with Venus, Saturn and Spica, brightest star of Virgo Constellation.

The sky-scape below was taken around 4.30 am, looking toward the East.

DECEMBER 1: the Waning Moon can be observed close to Saturn (around 8 degrees), early in the morning, before sunrise. Venus can be seen also, lower on the horizon at this time.

The snapshot below was taken at 4.30 am, looking East.

NOVEMBER 16: the Waxing Moon (between First Quarter and Gibbous) can be observed very close to bright Jupiter (and Uranus if you have a pair of very good binoculars or a telescope.

The snapshot below was taken at around 8.30 pm, looking nearly overhead, toward the North-East.

NOVEMBER 8: a tiny Crescent Moon can be observed close to Mars, low on the western Horizon, after sunset.

This snapshot was taken on November 8, around 7.30 pm, looking west.

NOVEMBER 4: Venus can be observed rising before the Sun (Heliacal Rising or Morning Star apparition) for the first time after her Inferior Conjunction with the Sun.

The sky-scape below was taken around 5.40 am, looking toward the East. Note the tiny Balsamic Moon, close to New Moon. And Saturn, also rising before the Sun now.

OCTOBER 20: the near Full Moon can be seen conjunct bright Jupiter and invisible Uranus.

The snapshot below was taken around 7.50 pm, looking East.

OCTOBER 11: the Waxing Crescent Moon can be seen cradled tonight between the starry claws of the Scorpion.

The snapshot below was taken around 8 pm looking toward the South West.

OCTOBER 10: the Moon appears for the first time in her new cycle at the same time and place as Venus and Mars, against the backdrop of the Scales Constellation (Libra) but in the Tropical or Seasonal Sign of Scorpio.

Here is an image of this event, the sky scape taken around 8.15 pm (NSW Day Light Saving). I added some major Stars’ names this time to stress the conjunction of Mars to the alpha star of Libra, Zuben Elgenubi, symbolizing the most difficult side of social reform, but also the most positive.

The lively debate (Mars) raging at the moment about the Murray-Darling Water Allotment and Usage comes to mind. It could become an outright War (extreme expression of Mars) against this social reform. Difficult choices (Libra), positive outcomes, so this Libra Star tells us.

Mars is transiting the more war-like of the Water Signs, Scorpio, and so is Venus who is going to be retrograde and then direct again through this Sign, on and off, until early 2011.

OCTOBER 7: Venus and Mars appear very close tonight (their exact conjunction in longitude occurred on October 4).

The sky-scape below was taken on October 7, around 8 pm, looking toward the West. Notice Mars’ close conjunction (less than a degree) to Zuben Elgenubi, alpha Star of the Scales Constellation.

SEPTEMBER 23: Just around sunset the Full Moon can be observed rising in the East very close to brilliant Jupiter tonight. The sky scape below was taken a bit after, around 7 pm.

Notice invisible Uranus close to Jupiter. With a pair of good binoculars this far away planet can also be spotted, a green-bluish star like object, very close to giant Jupiter.

Click to enlarge

SEPTEMBER 14: One of the closest encounter for the Moon this month, the Crescent passing very close to Antares, alpha star of Scorpio Constellation, a brassy red, misteriously glowing wonderful star, one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, guarding over the four corners of the universe. We should remember that the Moon is actually transiting  the Tropical Sign of Sagittarius.

The snapshot below was taken at around 8.30 pm, looking toward the West, can’t miss it (unless it’s cloudy!).

SEPTEMBER 11: Weather permitting tonight we should be able to observe the Crescent Moon very close to Venus, Mars and Spica. If you have a low horizon you could also spot Saturn setting below this group. The sky scape below was taken just after sunset, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

SEPTEMBER 4 and 5: Venus and Mars appear very close to each other and Spica, alpha star of Constellation Virgo.

In this snapshot, taken just before 7 pm, we can also see Saturn setting (only if you have a fairly low horizon). Saturn will disappear completely in the glare of the Sun by the end of September. It will re-appear as a Morning Star about a month after that.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2, 3: bright Venus can be observed now very close to Spica, alpha star of Constellation Virgo. Underneath Venus and Spica reddish Mars is also easily spotted.

This sky scape was taken at around 7 pm on September 2. In the picture we can also see Saturn, now well below Mars and close to setting, and on to the North beautiful Arcturus, alpha star of Bootes, the Herdsman Constellation. This is the third brightest star in the heavens, second only to Sirius and Canopus.

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AUGUST 29: Venus and Mars can be seen close to the alpha star of Constellation Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the hand of the celestial maiden.

This snapshot was taken around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

AUGUST 27: the waning Moon can be observed rising in Jupiter’s company. The sky scape below was taken around 9.30 pm, looking toward the East.

AUGUST 19: Great night to spot the constellation of Sagittarius, while the Quarter waxing Moon is cradled between the lower stars of this Constellation, in particular close to Kaus Australis, the Southern Bow as it is traditionally called, the star at the base of the archer’s bow.

The sky scape below was taken around 11.30 pm, looking toward the West. This spectacle will be visible higher in the sky since after sunset, of course, because the Moon rises around midday and sets after 2 am.

AUGUST 18: tonight and in the next few nights we can observe splendid Venus really close to Mars, the conjunction in longitude becoming exact on August 21.

The sky scape below was taken around 7.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

AUGUST 17: The First Quarter Moon can be observed close to Antares, alpha star of Constellation Scorpio.

The snapshot below was taken looking toward the West around 11.30 pm.

AUGUST 14 and 15: the Crescent Moon can be seen close to the alpha star of Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the hand of the maiden.

The snapshot below was taken on the 14th, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North West.

AUGUST 13: the Crescent Moon can be observed very close to Venus and Mars and just above Saturn from which the other two are now separating.

The sky scape below was taken around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

AUGUST 12: the tiny crescent Moon can be observed close to Mercury in the early evening, looking toward the west as it gets dark. This is the part of the sky most rewarding for spotting planets at present.

As you can see from the snapshot below above the Moon-Mercury conjunction can be seen bright Venus separating from yellowish Saturn (the conjunction was exact on August 9) and applying to red Mars that she will reach on August 21. From today to August 14 the Moon, growing a little every night, will climb the sky to conjunct in turn Saturn, Venus, Mars and Spica (alpha star of Virgo Constellation), a spectacle not to be missed, weather permitting.

AUGUST 7, 8, 9 and beyond:Venus is getting closer and closer to Saturn,becoming conjunct in longitude on August 9, 3.23 am. This is a great and rare enough spectacle, worth observing. Venus is now very bright  (4.6 magnitude), close to her maximum elongation (distance) from the Sun on August 19. The cosmic trio will remain close until mid-August, while Venus and Mars will go on performing their duet until mid-October, ideal time to observe them.

The sky scape below was taken at around 7 pm looking toward the West.

AUGUST 1: Mars and Saturn are still conjunct, only a couple of degrees apart. In the next few nights we will be able to observe Mars slowly separating from Saturn while luminous Venus edge closer to both.

This sky scape was taken looking toward the west around 6.30 pm.

JULY 31: Soon after entering the tropical Sign of Libra Mars will conjunct Saturn. Venus is close by, due to become conjunct Saturn on August 9 and Mars on August 21.

The three can be seen against the backdrop of Virgo Constellation. This snapshot was taken at around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

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Can Astrology make sense of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear menace?

First of all let’s examine the Chart of the earthquake itself.  The coordinates used were given by the International Seismological Center,  and are those of the epicenter.

Here it is.

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Celestial Bodies orbiting parallel to the Earth Equator, with Saturn holding the reins

One thing is immediately apparent, as it was in the Christchurch, NZ, recent quake: many celestial bodies are at the present time orbiting parallel to the Earth’s Equator, including the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Chiron in Pisces (Sign just South of the Equator), and also Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn respectively in Aries and Libra (both Equatorial Signs).

This alignment on the mid-drift of the Earth could by itself increase the possibility of severe seismic and volcanic activity. Another one is the grouping of  many celestial bodies on one side of the sky while only Saturn stands alone on the other side.  Here is an interesting article by Australian astrologer Ed Tamplin on the astrological factors often involved in earthquakes and in particular on the role of Saturn.

The Sabian symbol for the degree occupied by Saturn (16th of Libra) reads: ‘a boat landing washed away(!!!).

To make this symbolic connection even more significant Saturn will transit  this degree between March 5 and 20, two entire weeks, due to retrogradation.

The middle degree of Libra is the starting point of the so called Via Combusta too, a section of the Zodiac, between the middle of Libra and the middle of Scorpio, that is considered unpredictable, unstable, even dangerous in the practice of  Horary Astrology.

Symbolically then Saturn seems to play an important part in this event.

The local Horizon-Meridian Axis in Fixed Signs

Not surprising to students of Astrology the four Fixed Signs were on the Horizon and Meridian of that time and place, Leo on the Ascendant, Aquarius on the Descendant, while Taurus and Scorpio are found on the Mid-Heaven and Lower-Heaven respectively. Because Leo was on the Ascendant the Sun is ruler of this Chart and is placed in the Eighth House of Death and Loss, together with Mars, Uranus and Mercury. Saturn is instead in the Second House, which in a Mundane Chart like this one represents the wealth of the nation, its financial institutions etc. Already in deep troubles before the event these were dealt a terrible blow by the enormity of this disaster.

It is a well known astrological tenet that Fixed Signs have greater propensity for earthquakes and all kinds of violent disasters, offering stronger resistance to all changes.

I cite here just a few recent examples I have personally observed:

  • The Christchurch’s (New Zealand) earthquake of February 22, 2011: Ascendant in Taurus, Descendant in Scorpio, Mid-Heaven in Aquarius, Lower-Heaven in Leo.
  • Category 5 Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland, on February 3, 2011: Ascendant in Scorpio, Descendant in Taurus, Mid-Heaven in Leo, Lower-Heaven in Aquarius.
  • New Moon on the day cyclone Yasi struck Queensland coast: Ascendant in Taurus, Descendant in Scorpio, Mid-Heaven in Aquarius, Lower-Heaven in Leo.
  • The Tibetan Earthquake of April 14 2010, which killed nearly 3.000 people : Ascendant in Taurus, Descendant in Scorpio, Mid-Heaven in Capricorn, Lower-Heaven in Cancer.
  • The massive Haiti earthquake of January 12 2010 that killed more than 200.000 people . This event was preceded by two Eclipses, a Lunar on December 31 2009 and a Solar on January 15 2010. At the times of both these Eclipses in Haiti the Horizon and Meridian were also in Fixed Signs. During the Moon Eclipse: Ascendant in Taurus, Descendant in Scorpio, Mid-Heaven in Aquarius, Lower-Heaven in Leo. And during the Sun Eclipse: Ascendant in Scorpio, Descendant in Taurus, Mid-Heaven in Leo, Lower-Heaven in Aquarius.

These would be  indeed very strange coincidences if Astrology could not explain them as it does!

The relevant articles on these events can be found via these links: New Zealand’s February Quake ~ Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland ~ Tibetan Earthquake of April 14 2010 ~ Haiti Earthquake of January 12 2010 ~

Parallels and Counter-Parallels

Studying the Earthquake Chart, apart from many traditional aspects, I have observed a number of Parallel and Counter-Parallels of Declination. These aspects are special because they are not measured in longitudinal distance but rather in declination, North or South of the Ecliptic (Earth’s orbit). Celestial Bodies occupying the same degree of declination North or South are said to be in Parallel, while those on the same degree of declination but in different hemisphere are said to be in Counter-Parallel.

These aspects are important, the Parallel acting in a similar way to conjunctions and the Counter-Parallels to oppositions.

I have found that the Sun, ruler of the Earthquake Chart, was in Parallel to Saturn (similar to a conjunction to Saturn, considered traditionally unfortunate) and Counter-Parallel to Jupiter (similar to an opposition to Jupiter, also traditionally inauspicious),  while Jupiter and Saturn were in Counter-Parallel to each other (similar to an opposition). The actual opposition between Jupiter and Saturn not that far away, becoming exact on March 31. The Counter-Parallel anticipating the opposition’s effect.

Furthermore Mercury was in Counter-parallel to Uranus (similar to an opposition), another significant connection between these two.

The Ingress of Uranus in Aries

Astrologers are rightly having a field day with the ingress of Uranus in Aries coinciding so closely to this massive earthquake and its aftermath. It is nearly too perfect to be true, especially now that we are all anxiously waiting for news of those damaged nuclear reactors, that actually contain radioactive Uranium which is dangerously heating up (Aries Fire)!

Due to the present nuclear dread in Fukushima and others nuclear plants in Japan, Uranium stocks are falling on the stock market in Australia, country that produces more than 30% of the economically exploitable Uranium in the world. This seems to be in accord with the general planetary trends pointing to another downturn period for the global economy.

In my previous post on the Japanese event I stressed the importance of Mercury as a medium for the Uranian energy, entering Aries only two days before. But there are many other angles from which we can look at this Uranus astrologically, to try to understand why, of all days in a year when huge transits occur, this one day brought about such catastrophe.

To penetrate the mystery we need to look at other aspects Uranus was forming on the day, as well as at the link with other cosmic events, like the two Eclipses that have preceded the earthquake (Lunar on December 21 2010 and Solar on January 4 2011). And also we need to place these transits in the context of Japan’s Birth Charts (1889 and 1952).

On the day of the earthquake and tsunami Uranus, on the 29th degree of Pisces, was still forming a semi-sextile to Neptune on the 29th degree of Aquarius, transit that had been exact in mid-January. Due to the slowness of these two planets the angle was separating  by less than a degree (49 minutes of arc), still very close.  Mercury in early Aries was forming the same aspect (semi-sextile) with Chiron in early Pisces. Considering the nature of this event, sudden and violent (Uranus on the cusp Pisces-Aries) and beginning under the sea (Neptune) the transit fits the bill perfectly, also considering that this was the very last day these two planets would have been in Mutual Reception (one in the Sign of the other and viceversa), relationship that began when Uranus entered Pisces in 2003. At the same time there is another active Mutual Reception between Mars in Pisces (Sign ruled by Jupiter-Neptune) and Jupiter in Aries (Sign ruled by Mars). This relationship Mars-Jupiter, between Water and Fire Signs, is also very appropriate to the nature of the event, expressing itself violently and from a sea location (Mars in Pisces), and with great and expanding power (Jupiter in Aries magnifying the fiery nature of  Mars in the watery realm of Pisces). I feel all this to be remarkable.

Of great interest is also the fact that all the Full Moons since September 2010 have been on the 29th degree of the Signs, so that the degrees of both Uranus and Neptune have been activated by these Lunations, including the Total Eclipse of the Moon of December 21 2010, the day of the Capricorn Solstice. During this lunar eclipse the Sun and Moon were on the 29th degree of Sagittarius and Gemini therefore forming a square with the transiting Uranus and a sextile and trine with the transiting Neptune, aspects that became more exact by the time of the Japanese earthquake. Even the Lunar Nodes, eclipses’ signposts,  that were, at the time of the lunar eclipse, in early Capricorn and Cancer, reached the 28th degree of Sagittarius and Gemini at the time of the earthquake in Japan! We can definitely connect this powerful eclipse with the recent events in Japan. Mars exalted, strong in Capricorn, was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and approaching a square to Saturn in Libra at the time of the eclipse, showing the inherent dangers for the weeks and months ahead, eclipses always having an extended effect in time.

Jupiter was also close to conjunct Uranus for the last time before entering Aries in January, so Jupiter was augmenting the power of Uranus as well. At the time of the Solar Eclipse of January 4 2011 the last conjunction became exact, the solar eclipse making this transit truly powerful and far reaching, as this massive earthquake has demonstrated.

At present Jupiter, obviously another major actor in these events, is also separating from a 90 degrees angle to Pluto in Capricorn, that became exact on February 26, a potentially very destructive and deeply transforming angle, Jupiter enhancing also the power of the Underworld God. 

Read more on the December 21 Lunar Eclipse HERE. And the January 4 Solar Eclipse HERE.

Here is are two double wheel Charts. The top one has the Japan Earthquake Chart in the inner wheel and the Lunar Eclipse Chart on the outer wheel. The bottom one has the Japan Earthquake in the inner wheel and the Solar Eclipse in the outer wheel.  All Charts are calculated for the coordinates of Hoshu.

Please note the position of the Moon, transiting the Sign of Gemini during both the earthquake and lunar eclipse, the end of Gemini during the eclipse, and the beginning of Gemini at the time of the earthquake. More about the Moon in Gemini later.

The Earthquake Chart and the Total Lunar Eclipse of December 21 2010

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The Earthquake Chart and the Solar Eclipse of January 4 2011

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The earthquake’s transits become even more remarkable when we look at them over the backdrop of the two Birth Charts of Japan.

Here I consider some of the connections between these transits and the Imperial Chart of 1889.

Imperial Japan Birth Chart (1889) activated by the Earthquake’s Transits

Click to enlarge

The Moon in Gemini

If the entrance of Uranus in Aries, plus the Sun and three planets in the Eighth House of Death weren’t enough, the transiting Moon, at the time of the quake, had just entered Gemini, a significant placement for Japan, because the Moon happened also to transit Gemini in Japan’s Imperial Chart of 1889 as well as the Modern Japan’s Chart of 1952.

Strange enough the Moon happened also to transit Gemini at the time of the magnitude 9.1 Sumatra’s earthquake and tsunami of December 26 2004, and the more recent Indonesian tsunami of October 25, 2010. As well as at the time of the first salvos on Krakatoa, on August 26 1883, and when the three big blasts of the same eruption occurred, on August 27 1883.

All this seems to show a different face of the airy and light Gemini Moon of astrological lore!

The Moon was also involved in significant transits with some of this event’s major actors, on the day disaster struck. The Moon was in fact in aspect to Mercury, catalyst of the Uranian energy; Saturn, the planet modern astrologers call the Lord of Karma and the ancients recognized as the root-cause of earth tremors, ruling as it does the Earth plane; Chiron, planet of collective suffering and healing; Uranus, planet of sudden and unexpected events; Neptune, God of the Oceans and all that happens therein; and the Lunar Nodes, the axis of destiny, connected with recent eclipses. As I will explain a bit later the Moon’s aspects to Mercury and Saturn seem particularly relevant here, due to the role of these planets in the event when compared to the Birth Charts of Japan.

Naught degree of Gemini is also the middle of the Pleiades Star Cluster in the constellation of Taurus. These stars were considered by some writers to have an evil influence, causing bereavement, mourning, sorrows and tragedies, and also abundant rains and floods, their name meaning ‘The Rainy Stars’. The Star Alcyone, most brilliant amongst the Seven Sisters, was perfectly conjunct the transiting Moon at the time. All the Pleiades were known in antiquity as the Sailor’s Stars.

According to Arab astrologers when the Moon was transiting the Mansion connected with these stars (Al Thurayya, the Many Little Ones) one could plant and sow but do not marry or travel by water.

Other amazing connections between Japan’s Imperial Birth Chart and the earthquake’s transits

  • The transiting Moon is conjunct Imperial Japan’s Neptune and Pluto. Now this is something!  Being born with a conjunction Neptune-Pluto the nation of Japan was destined to experience destructive upheavals and profound transformations involving the sea (Neptune) and the depths of the Earth (Pluto). It also shows Imperial Japan’s fascination and delusional aspirations (Neptune) for power and war (Pluto); heroic ideals that were utterly defeated in the Second World War. Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind, as well as the constant fear of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions with which the Japanese people have learnt to live. The fact that now Japan is also facing the prospect of melt down in some of its nuclear power plants shows the connection Moon-Pluto in action. This, together with the transits of Uranus, is proving indeed disastrous. And there is more, because the transiting Moon was also at right angle to Imperial Japan’s Mercury in early Pisces, while the transiting Neptune and Chiron are both conjunct the same Mercury and at right angle with the transiting Moon as well as Japan’s Neptune and Pluto! The Moon, in this type of Chart, is said to represent the people. So meaningfully connected with these destiny makers (conjunction Neptune-Pluto, square transiting Neptune-Chiron etc.) the Moon is a symbol here of the great loss of human lives.
  • The significant role of Mercury is confirmed by the fact that transiting Mercury (major activator of Uranus on the cups of Aries) was also approaching a sesqui-square (135 degrees) to Japan’s Saturn in Leo, while, at the same time, transiting Saturn in Libra was sesqui-square Japan’s Mercury in Pisces. This is what astrologers like to call a ‘double whammy’, the repeat of the same aspect, putting a strong accent on the power of these planets in the unfolding of this particular event. The double aspect was possible because the two Saturn (the transiting one and Japan’s) are close to a sextile aspect (60 degrees), a positive aspect, showing perhaps how early warning, strict building regulations and many other cautionary measures have saved many in the circumstances, the positive aspects of Saturn indicating caution and forethought.

Please check my next posts for more on the astrological signature of the Japan event. There are in fact many more meaningful aspects to be considered, in particular the connection with the 1952 Birth Chart of Modern Japan.

A Solar Eclipse at the final Jupiter-Uranus’ encounter: bring it on

New Moon in Capricorn and Partial Solar Eclipse

January 4 2011

At 8.02 pm (Eastern Australia Summer Time) the New Moon in Capricorn will be also a Partial Solar Eclipse.

This partial eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, where the event will happen just on sunrise, and also North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. Cities like Cairo, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Tehran will see a large magnitude Eclipse, while the greatest phase will occur in northern Scandinavia. Central Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Northern China will witness a sunset Eclipse.

Unfortunately this Eclipse will not be visible at all from Australia and New Zealand due to the fact that  it will occur after sunset for us.

More detailed information on the Eclipse’s visibility from all parts of the globe can be found on this Nasa page.

The more obvious features of this cosmic event are:

♣ The synchronicity of the final conjunction Jupiter-Uranus, happening on the same day, will tend to magnify the effects of both.  If the conjunction’s effect could linger at the most until the end of  January (Jupiter leaving the Sign of Pisces on the 23rd of this month), the Eclipse’s effect, extending further into the future, will cause the effect of the conjunction to last longer and also to become more compelling.

Thus the urge for radical changes written all over the Jupiter-Uranus’ conjunction will be still immensely powerful at least for the first few months of 2011. Individually and collectively it is prompting us to take more risks, to assert our individual rights to be ourselves, seeking greater freedom and self-actualization in relationships, at work and in our home environment. Particularly affected by this transit will be individuals with Sun in Pisces born 17, 18, 19 of March; Sun in Virgo born 19, 20, 21 of September; Sun in Gemini born17, 18, 19 of June;  and Sun in Sagittarius born 18, 19, 20 of December. Also anyone with Birth Planets or points (Lunar Nodes, Horoscope’s Angles, etc.) on the 13th or 14th degree of the same Mutable Signs.

♣ 90 degrees angle (square) between the Sun-Moon in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra.

This is a sobering transit, and somewhat of a kill joy for some. While Jupiter and Uranus push us toward ever more exciting and widening horizons, Saturn reminds us of our duties and responsibilities, of the promises we made in the past, of the limitations of our situations and all the good reason why we should use caution when embracing changes and hankering after freedom. During the first three months of 2011 Saturn will transit over the Birth Sun of those Libra born between October 8 and 12. The ringed planet will also challenge Sun in Aries individuals born between April 5 and 9; Sun in Cancer born between July 7 and 11; and Sun in Capricorn born between January 5 to 9. All of us (due to the Eclipse effect), but those Sun Signs in particular are the ones who will need to become more grounded, paying greater attention to practical concerns, money, job, family, and all long term plans.

♣ Sun and Moon in Capricorn separating from a conjunction to heliacal Pluto (rising before the Sun) and moving toward a conjunction to Mars in Capricorn. These transits link together again Mars and Pluto that have had their conjunction already in mid-December 2010. These are intense transits, promising more general upheavals, discord and wars in the world, because of a strong need for control and power (Pluto) coupled with an equally strong desire to antagonize those we perceive as our enemies (Mars). These aspects can also indicate destructive events over which we have little or no control.  Positively, ‘read’ together with the Jupiter-Uranus’ urge to innovate and change things around, these transits could help us to be more ruthless and assertive in getting rid of what is not anymore useful to our life journey, and could in fact help many to become free of unhealthy entanglements and conditioning.

♣ The general alignment of many celestial bodies in Capricorn during this special New Moon (the Sun, the Moon, the Lunar Nodes, Mars, the Asteroid Pallas (Athena) and Pluto) seems to indicate the ongoing need to remain grounded (despite the lofty tendencies of Jupiter-Uranus), to reduce our spending, and remain cautious even when the general financial situation may seem to improve. The Jupiter-Saturn’s opposition is still unfolding, with the last exact transit in the cards for the end of March 2011.

♣ For curiosity sake (running out of time to post this article before the actual Eclipse strikes) I have also observed the opposition of Sun and Moon to some remarkable Fixed Stars: Sirius of Constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog at the heels of Orion), Capella, alpha star of Constellation Auriga (the Charioteer), Phact, alpha star of Constellation Columba (the Dove), and Bellatrix, gamma star of Constellation Orion.

At the same time Mars is opposing Castor, alpha star of Constellation Gemini (the Twins) and Venus is opposing powerful Algol (Head of Medusa), alpha star of Constellation Perseus.

Click to enlarge

This Solar Eclipse’s cycle Saros number 151

The cosmic link to 1776 and the American Declaration of Independence

Every Eclipse belongs to a certain group. Eclipses pertaining to the same group are identified with a number, called the Saros number. Astrologically the very first Eclipse in each group sets the tempo and significance of all the Eclipses following.

This particular event belongs to the Saros group n°151, series that began with a Partial Solar Eclipse in 1776, in the Northern Hemisphere, and will end with another Partial Solar Eclipse in 3.056, in the Southern Hemisphere, covering a span of 1280 years.

1776 was the year America’s United Colonies (not yet United States of America, a term sanctioned only in September of the same year) declared their independence from Great Britain, on July 4. Both these dates are indeed very close to August 14, when our first 151 Saros Eclipse took place. We can safely say that this Eclipse in particular and others that occurred in the same year had some bearing on these events, changing dramatically the course of history, not just for America but the whole world.

Below is the Astrological Chart for the 1776 event, calculated for the coordinates of Washington DC.

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Looking at this Horoscope I see straight away the close conjunction of Sun and Moon to Venus, a positive aspect, promising cooperation and fairness in the new cycle heralded by the New Moon. To make this transit more significant the Sun and Moon were also in Parallel of Declination with Venus, fact that helped to strengthen the power of the conjunction. Also prominent was a T Cross (configuration made up of an opposition and two squares or right angles) linking the conjunction Mars-Jupiter to the opposition Saturn-Chiron, a difficult combination, setting the exuberant Mars-Jupiter’s conjunction  against the limiting and painful effect of the Saturn-Chiron’s opposition. As far as America was concerned this showed the intense struggle between the drive for independence and freedom in action (Jupiter-Mars in Cancer) pitted against the conservative rule of the British Empire (Saturn in Libra), a thorn in the side of the fledgling nation (Chiron in Aries).

Due to the Saros number connection these old times transits are also significant in the light of the present day Eclipse, showing the struggle between expansion and restriction, reforms and fear of reforms that characterize our time, in the States and most countries in the world.

To make the connection between these distant Eclipses events more meaningful the present Eclipse of January 4 2011 corresponds also to the 8th Saturn Return for the United States. This is a Saturn Return on a grand scale, a 30 years cyclic reality check for this powerful nation, evident in the grave financial crisis America is experiencing at the present time.

Here is  a two-wheel horoscope, with the 1776 Chart of the USA Declaration of Independence in the inner wheel and the present Eclipse in the outer wheel.

Below is instead the Cartography Map for the 2011 Eclipse, calculated using the coordinates of Washington. This Map shows, amongst other things, the Eclipse placed directly on the Mid-Heaven of Baghdad, Iraq, a problematic world region for America. This placement doesn’t promise much good for Iraq and near by Afghanistan where America has invested so many of its military and financial resources.

In the same Map Mars can also be seen on the Mid-Heaven of Iran and on the Descendant (House of open enemies) in Korea, increasing tension in those already troubled regions.

The Eclipse itself will be visible in the whole of the Middle east, fact traditionally considered to make the effect of an Eclipse stronger.

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Please Click here to view a whole article, covering the major transits active between December 2010 and March 2011. In this article I have also discussed the January 4 Solar Eclipse as well as the previous Lunar Eclipse of December 21, whose effect is still unfolding.

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EYE ON THE SOUTHERN SKY, JUNE 2010

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

~ 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 ~

 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.

 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).

 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.

 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.

 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).

 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.

 

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.


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/

JUNE 15: Venus has

Transits March to June 2010

FROM ARIES EQUINOX TO CANCER SOLSTICE

March 21, 2010, a new Aries Equinox is upon us, opening the astrological year. The Aries Equinox is traditionally considered the most powerful indicator of the year’s future trends, because Aries is the archetypal beginning Sign, for both Northern and Southern hemispheres.  At this moment in history Aries is becoming also a focal point of interest to astrologers for another, very important reason.

Uranus’ ingress into Aries

No time to waste.

The top event for this season is in fact the entrance of Uranus, the sky god, into fiery Aries, on May 28, preceded by the ingress of Chiron in Pisces, on April 20. Three of the four planets orbiting beyond Saturn have now moved Sign (Pluto, Chiron and Uranus). Neptune will follow, entering Pisces in April 2011, and, for good, in early 2012. All these consecutive changes in the zodiacal position of these Destiny Makers, between 2008 and 2012, characterize the present time and near future as one of the most rapidly transformative period in recent history, reflecting a renaissance of a sort, but also huge social, political and ecological upheavals.

These transits are momentous, and Uranus in Aries can be considered, together with Pluto in Capricorn, one of the most dynamic and also potentially dangerous of all these transits.

Uranus takes an average of seven years to transit a Sign, returning to the same position every 84 years (7×12), its entire orbit containing a whole epoch of cultural development. Any planet’s ingress into Aries represents also a new start. Uranus will accelerate the pace of changes, boosting the collective urge to rebel against the status quo. This is however a brief taste of Uranus in Aries, lasting only until August 14, when this eccentric planet will re-enter Pisces in retro motion.

Uranus will be back in Aries for good in 2011 and remain there until 2019. What effect would Uranus in Aries have over the generation of people who will be born between 2010 and 2019? Let’s look into the past for answers: the last Uranus in Aries generation was born between 1927 and 1935. They have been identified by some as the “Rebels without a cause’, a class of defiant people who had the courage to be themselves, and often became actively engaged in changing the rules and anticipating trends, thus paving the way for those who followed them.  Many of them personify very well the rebelliousness and modernity of Uranus boldly expressed through the Aries medium. To name a few of the best known: James Dean, Mikhail Gorbachev, Che Guevara, Buddy Holly, Ted Kennedy, Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Shirley McLain, Rupert Murdoch, Peter O’Toole, Elvis Presley. The power of these people to excite and inspire the generations that followed them is a testimony to their unique individuality.

The birthdays now in line with this transit are: Aries (March21/23), Libra (September23/25), Cancer (June21/23), Capricorn (December22/24). These same people have been under a barrage of heavy duty transits since early 2008, first from Pluto in Capricorn, then from Saturn in Libra and now from Uranus! You may start feeling as if you have been singled out by some overwhelming fate, ruthlessly playing with your life. This latest Uranus’ contact could bring the situation to a sort of climax for you, hopefully making you more aware of the fact that every future is built on the ruins and riches of the past.  Searching for your own individual path will be the challenge in the next two years. A sense of isolation may prevail if you find that your present situation and current relationships are not reflecting your urgent need for freedom and self determination. It would very much depends on what use you have made of the Plutonian and Saturnine energies, in recent months and years. Are you now taking full responsibility for your life and stopped procrastinating (Saturn)? Have you identified and dealt with those aspects of your life that have had an obvious negative/destructive influence in the past (Pluto)? If you have done your home work, then Uranus can now bring you the independence you have yearned for a long time. If you have not made these steps, then Uranus could feel instead like another upheaval you don’t want to know about, prompting you to move out of your comfort zone, risking much of the security you have built in the past.

Generally speaking, Aries is not an easy place for Uranus and the transits of the planet of rebellion in the Sign of impulsivity promises that the Uranian drive for renewal will be thrust upon us in a rather abrupt way, probably not giving us enough time to assimilate the changes. This is not, I’m afraid, a very promising position in regard to world peace, because the combination of the iconoclastic and autocratic character of Uranus and the fiery, belligerent nature of Aries could be an explosive one. Both archetypes are masculine, if not hyper-masculine, with a marked tendency to antagonize rather than cooperate and seek peaceful resolutions. The ingress of Uranus in Aries also anticipates an intense contact Uranus-Pluto (90 degrees angle) that will become exact between 2012 and 2014, but is already very close. The mingling of the highly transformative energies of these two planets will manifest as make or break situations that we all will have to face. Accepting changes will not be any more a matter of choice. A remarkably similar situation happened in the late 20s and early 30’s, when Uranus was also transiting Aries (1927-35) and Pluto was in the opposite point of the zodiac that it is occupying now, in the Sign of Cancer. They formed their 90 degrees angles between 1930 and 1933. Not only this was the period of the Great Depression, with the fall of Wall street in October 1929, but also the beginning of an ideological  transformation in Europe and the far east that led to the rise of dictatorships and eventually to the outbreak of World War II. Destruction of the past is an appropriate key phrase to describe the combined energies of these planets. Then it meant war, the autocratic and aggressive side of the aspect obviously prevailing. It does not have to mean war in our near future, but certainly a confrontation of sort and a need to embrace changes (Uranus), no matter the cost, or perhaps even the means (Pluto) we choose to employ.

The Uranus-Pluto’s pairing with the end of the Mayan Calendar gives this particular aspect even greater significance, together with the passage of Neptune into Pisces (another 2012 event).

The Jupiter-Uranus’ Aries Conjunction,the escalating urge for action

Jupiter has entered Pisces on January 18. It will transit the whole Sign in record six months time, entering Aries on June 6 2010, and then returning to Pisces, in retro motion, between September 2010 and January 2011.

On June 8 Jupiter will meet Uranus on the cusp of Aries, the most active point of the whole ecliptic. This is exciting stuff. We will experience the same transit in September 2010 and January 2011, again close to pivotal times, the Libra Equinox and Capricorn Solstice. It certainly represents more than a passing trend.

Jupiter embodies the power that enlarges and improves on everything. In what way can we then see an improvement or enlargement of Uranus’ energy? Uranus represents, first and foremost, the urge toward change and modernization of values, also new technologies and all revolutionary ideas. Jupiter then will increase this urge. Great innovative ideas could come out of the collective brain, a new philosophical perspective that will affect, amongst other things, the way we view and use technology. This is a daring and risk taking influence that could greatly help to overcome the impasse of the still powerful Saturn with its conservative stance. The negative side of the same could be found in a tendency to rush into things without adequate forethought, to become arrogant and overbearing, expecting too much of circumstances or people, or trusting too blindly in our abilities. It is definitely a mixed bag for all of us and the early Cardinal Signs in particular, Jupiter making us more and more impatient of those restrictions that are nevertheless unavoidable.

All these transits on the cusp of the Cardinal Signs, the pillars of the yearly astrological calendar, really suggest a quickening in the pace of events and the need to get into action without delay to face problems head on. This is true not only for Cardinal Signs people (Aries, Libra, Cancer, Capricorn) but for all of us. The whole configuration suggests a very eventful year ahead, with old Saturn still doing its best to put a keg in the wheel of progress.

Another Pass of the Saturn-Uranus opposition

Saturn, as usual when prominent in transit (see, among other things its opposition to the Sun on the day of the Aries Equinox and the conjunction to the Sun at the next Libra Equinox) is suggesting the need for caution and a more conservative approach, when every other planetary indicator points instead to the need for decisive action.

With all these different strains on the Planet it is not surprising that we may not achieve as much as we wish. A saturnine period is one during which practical matters, money, work, health, duties override other considerations, when ideals have to bow down to realities, and our collective horizon seems to shrink a little.

Saturn says: you are not ready, you haven’t quite done your home work yet; long term commitments and hard work are necessary to back up the lofty dreams of a better future. Saturn will help us, as always, to keep our feet firmly on the ground, hopefully without stifling our hopes.

At the end of April Saturn (retrograded in Virgo since April 8) will again oppose Uranus, as it had done in November 2008, February and September 2009. This is not the last of this cosmic tag of war, but it is the last involving Virgo and Pisces. Another opposition will become exact in July 2010, with Saturn in Libra and Uranus in Aries, and stay with us well into 2011.

The birthdays directly aligned to the April opposition will be Virgo (September19/22), Pisces (March17/20), Gemini (June18/21), Sagittarius (December18/21). While your need to create a future for yourself is becoming stronger (Uranus), the past is revisiting you now, making you feel that instead than moving forward you are going backwards at the moment (Saturn). Some unfinished business still need to be addressed and cannot be brushed aside if you want your life to move out of this impasse. The past has still some valuable lesson for you; ignoring this is not an alternative in the circumstances.

Considering the collective potential of this transit many astrologers think that it could bring about more of the financial vows we all experienced in 2008/09. The Virgo/Pisces’ dynamics is again pointing to the need to be more humble and realistic, to sacrifice something in order to become more inclusive, shifting our focus from Ego centred values to more compassionate and spiritual ones.

The Equinox Moon and the power of Medusa

Looking at the Aries Equinox chart for 2010 many astrologers would notice the Moon’s position, on the 26th degree of Taurus. The reason is that this is the longitude of a very important star, Algol, in the constellation of Perseus. From antiquity this star has been universally considered an evil, unfortunate and violent influence. Apart from these superstitions, what is the archetype associated with Algol and why it has become such a symbol of vow and catastrophe? In Greek mythology Perseus is the typical hero who has to courageously and cunningly face deadly perils in order to re-gain his kingdom. Algol (western rendering of the Arab name Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head) was Medusa, the monster Perseus had to kill in order to regain his lost kingdom and rescue his maiden princess (his soul). This Medusa, the legend tells, was once a beautiful woman, transformed into an evil monster by the wrath of the god Neptune, against whom she had sinned. She represents the ugly face of resentment and hate, with her power to turn everyone who looks at her face into lifeless stone. To slay her Perseus had to avoid staring at her, but uses instead a magical reflective shield that Athena, goddess of wisdom, had given him for this purpose. Once the deed is accomplished the hero places Medusa’s head over Athena’s shield and returned the same to the goddess who, from then on, used it to deter evil in the world.

The symbol of the mirror-shield is an obvious one, showing the need for self reflection when tackling our inner demons, because direct confrontation with the same could prove fatal to our quest. The light of reason and wisdom is needed in order to handle the monster safely, as we need a protective and supportive environment and loyal helpers in order to face those deep seated feeling of resentment that we carry with us since childhood. To confront them head on, without the aid of self reflection and spiritual understanding, could be psychologically very destructive.

The potential for good of Medusa herself becomes clear when out of her severed head, apart from vengeful demons, sprang also Pegasus, the winged horse, a symbol of the soul freed from the shackles of past pain and loathing. So there is a lot of positive stuff to be found in the Algol/Medusa’s legend. For sure the prominence of Algol in a chart already packed with challenging aspects warns us that the road ahead is a perilous one, where perpetuating old hatreds could prove fatal to our spiritual evolution. To see the beauty (Pegasus) in those we consider our enemies (Medusa) is the secret for successfully using this star’s energy without being psychologically paralysed by her terrible stare.

As Diana K. Rosenberg, an esteemed expert on Fixed Stars, beautifully put it in her internet article on Medusa : ‘…Algol … in a chart does not necessarily mean that you will inflict, or be the victim of, horror and mayhem … but that you will be aware of the depths of suffering that can occur, whether through human depravity or “Acts of God”; …. your life path will require that you come to terms with that level of experience… The polarities of bigotry or tolerance, violence or kindness, cruelty or compassion, war or peace are issues that are unavoidable and must be dealt with under Medusa.’

The seasonal Mercury’s loop, April 18 to May 12

Our trickster planet, the child of the solar family, will perform its station and retrogradation in the Sign of Taurus, affecting in particular Taureans born between April 21 and May 3. These few weeks could be the ideal time for a break from routine and duties. If you slow down the pace of your life you are less likely to experience frustration. If you have to stay on the job, expect some delay and inconsistencies. Many little things could happen that will measure or even stop your progress for a while. Keep your appointments and deadlines fluid enough to accommodate last minute unexpected trouble. This will be a test of your mental flexibility and ability to adapt, not usually your forte.

Transits to the Fixed Signs

Taurus, like all the other Fixed Signs (Scorpio-Aquarius-Leo) are also still influenced by the slow passage of Mars through Leo (since mid October 2009!). Mars is finally moving in direct motion at Equinox time, indicating a better period ahead to tackle business with renewed energy and confidence, apart from the short interval of Mercury retrogradation.

The central experience though for some Fixed Sign people will still be the life changing transit of Neptune through Aquarius (with us until 2012). Aquarius (Feb.16/19), Leo (Aug.20/23), Taurus (May18/21), Scorpio (Nov.19/22) are still under the spell of Neptune, often feeling as if their sense of reality has changed to the point that they are unable to act and relate the way they always did. When prominent in transit Neptune opens new dimensions in our life, new channels of understanding, but, unless we are psychologically prepared and spiritually aware, these could prove more bewildering than helpful.

Chiron in Pisces, 2010-18, a healing transit

I have left the discussion of this transit last, not because it is less notable than others, but because it is one that promises some real healing.

Pisces, last in the sequence of twelve Signs, represents the end product of the entire cycle and also contains, in seed form, the future cycle. Chiron, the healer centaur of ancient lore, with his wisdom and knowledge of nature’s remedies, in Pisces will show us the way to merge with the natural environment, to participate emotionally, not merely intellectually to the suffering of the less privileged and of the Planet itself.

On the negative side this position of Chiron may increase the risk of serious pandemics, because the medium of Pisces, with its openness and fluidity, is ideal for the spread of infections, the absorption of poisons and the lowering of our collective immunity. Tears and powerlessness, with the loss of control are some of the traditional attributes of mystical Pisces, when its energy is mishandled.

The Earth may become more susceptible to illnesses brought about by pollution and neglect, the same applying to all the beings that populate it, animals and humans. The situation on our planet may worsen before the healing can begin.

One way or the other, this long transit will make us realize that, if any member of the human family suffers, the whole of humanity suffers. The potential for collective healing through this configuration is self-evident, but only via spiritual surrender of ego centred attitudes.

Chiron in Pisces basically suggests that to cure the body (ours, the Earth’s) we need to heal the soul.

Happy and wise transits, everyone.