The Geminid meteor shower and the asteroid Phaethon

Geminid meteor showerBrrrr!!!!!!!!  If you can stay up past midnight tonight and tomorrow, you may enjoy the treat of hundreds of meteors falling before your very eyes.

The Geminids appear to emanate from the constellation of Gemini, but evidently originate from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon and has been streaming for over 1,000 years, according to astronomers.

There are some fascinating connections here, because Phaethon was the name of the son of the Sun god Helios in Greek mythology.  He was killed by a thunderbolt from Zeus when he drove the solar chariot recklessly, threatening to burn up the earth.  In Ovid’s version of the story: “”…consider what impetuous force Turns stars and planets in a diff’rent course. I steer against their motions; nor am I Born back by all the current of the skye. But how cou’d you resist the orbs that roul In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid pole?”

According to Aristotle’s “Meteorology,” “Aristotle says, “…the stars…fell from heaven at the time of Phaethon’s downfall.”

In any case, be sure to bundle up if you attempt to view this sky show!  More tips to observe the meteor shower can be found here.

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By |2010-12-13T20:05:23-04:00December 13th, 2010|Astronomy|Comments Off on The Geminid meteor shower and the asteroid Phaethon

Fighting for Pluto’s right to be a planet

Pluto is a planetAstrologers chuckle when we hear people say that Pluto is no longer a planet.  Try telling that to someone going through a gnawingly agonizing Pluto transit!   But ever since Pluto was reclassified (some say “demoted”) a few years ago, a small but very vocal contingent of astronomers is fighting to classify Pluto as a planet once again.

One of these astronomers is Alan Stern, who was interviewed by :

Just because Pluto orbits with many other dwarf planets doesn’t change what it is, just as whether an object is a mountain or not doesn’t depend on whether it’s in a group or in isolation.

What we see in the Kuiper Belt is a third class of planets, the dwarf planets, or DPs. Most, like Pluto and Eris, have primarily rocky compositions (like Earth), moons, and polar caps, atmospheres, seasons and other attributes like the larger planets. They’re just somewhat smaller.
Back before the Kuiper Belt was discovered, Pluto did look like a misfit that didn’t belong with either the terrestrials or the giant planets. Turns out that was exactly right, but now we know why: Pluto looked like a misfit because our technology back then couldn’t see that it was just the brightest and easiest to detect of a large new class of planets.
In fact, that’s why it’s clear Ceres [the largest object in the asteroid belt] was a planet all along, but was misclassified for a time because we didn’t have enough similar examples to recognize dwarf planets as their own category. Today, however, it’s clear the DPs outnumber both of the other two planet classes we know of in our solar system — the giants and the terrestrials. Which […]

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By |2010-12-02T18:46:06-04:00December 2nd, 2010|Astronomy|Comments Off on Fighting for Pluto’s right to be a planet

Jupiter/Uranus and “strange sky sightings”

In the news today:

The Pentagon Tuesday said it was trying to determine if a missile was launched Monday off the coast of Southern California and who might have launched it.

Spokesmen for the Navy, Air Force, Defense Department and North American Aerospace Defense Command said they were looking into a video posted on the CBS News website that appears to show a rocket or some other object shooting up into the sky and leaving a large contrail over the Pacific Ocean.

The video was shot by a CBS affiliate KCBS’ helicopter, the station said Tuesday.

“Nobody within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is, where it came from,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said. “So far, we’ve come up empty with any explanation.”

This just one of a series of weird events that have happened in the sky over the past year.  Astrologically, we have had a conjunction of Uranus (ruling the sky, and also strange events) conjunct Jupiter (amplifying those strange events) since April and May of 2010 that has coincided with these weird events which include:

  • UFOs flying over Manhattan that ultimately turned out to be party balloons that had escaped from a private event in October.
  • A home-grown satellite made of an Iphone and a camera attached to a weather balloon was launched into space from Brooklyn in October.
  • In April A was launched from Florida in a mysterious mission that has still not been revealed.
  • A very odd-looking “comet” named Hartley 2 recently photographedlooks more like a vehicle, prompting Richard Hoagland and others to postulate that the comet is an ancient […]
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By |2010-11-09T18:40:27-04:00November 9th, 2010|Astronomy|Comments Off on Jupiter/Uranus and “strange sky sightings”

Stock market optimism continues a little longer

The conjunction of Jupiter to Uranus is still creating optimism in the markets that defy the news: “U.S. stocks closed higher Monday as investors were encouraged by earnings from Citigroup and a measure of home-builder confidence that topped expectations.” (read more here…)

Jupiter is the planet of confidence, and in tandem with Uranus it seeks sudden changes and liberation from negativity.  The combination of these two planets is not the most realistic time in the world, and we are seeing this manifesting in the market, which rebounded today based on supposed confidence from home builders after an index reported today that builder confidence is up.  The National Association of Home Builders chief economist interjected the voice of reason, saying “it could be another couple of years before the industry returns to normal.”  There are signs of recovery, and that we have turned the corner as I’ve been reporting here.  But the fundamentals are not strong enough yet to create real movement in the value of equities.

Mars is in Scorpio now, the sign of shared values and other people’s money (and therefore investments and the stock market), and Mars is moving into alignment to trine both Jupiter and Uranus.  This should be a pretty positive week for the financial markets, although the retrograde movement of Venus will keep things from moving too far, too fast.

October is often a down month for the Dow, but after the intense planetary cycles of this summer investors are ready for a return of happy exuberance.  They are likely to continue to find it until Mercury enters Scorpio on October 21st and begins to analyze the financial situation a little more thoroughly.

Overall, though, I continue to feel that we have turned the […]

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By |2010-10-18T16:19:40-04:00October 18th, 2010|Astronomy, Money and markets|Comments Off on Stock market optimism continues a little longer

Mercury has a tail!

Two satellites peering at the sun have snapped photos of Mercury’s long, comet-like tail, but it took an amateur astronomer to bring the pictures to light.

The twin satellites are part of NASA’s Stereo (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission. They zip around the sun in Earth’s orbit, one behind our planet and one ahead of it. Their main job is to monitor the sun and its atmosphere….

Scientists have known for years that Mercury has a long tail. From Earth it can be seen by analyzing light from sodium gas sputtered off Mercury’s surface. The sun’s intense radiation pressure pushes many sodium atoms off into space, creating a tail that extends far beyond the planet.

Often astrologers look at the physical makeup of a planet to determine its energetic influence.  For example Uranus, with its eccentric orbit, rules eccentricity.  Neptune is shrouded in mists, and it has a similar effect on our lives.  Mercury is known as the “winged footed messenger,” and now it appears that the planet actually has wings as well!

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By |2010-10-04T18:03:25-04:00October 4th, 2010|Astronomy|1 Comment

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