Archive for June, 2008

Cancer Solstice — June 20, 2008, 23:59 UT

Friday, June 20th, 2008

By Kirsti Melto

The Sun reaches its most northern point around June 21 each year. This is when it is crossing the first degree of Cancer, one of the cardinal points. The word solstice means to stand still, but a lot is going on in the sky at the moment.

Only a couple of days ago we had a magnificent Full Moon in the late degrees of Sagittarius. The Moon was conjunct Pluto and the Galactic Core. The next day, Mercury made its direct station in Gemini. Mercury will be in the echo phase over the next couple of weeks, traveling through the mid degrees of Gemini for the third time. The Sun makes an opposition to Pluto about four hours before ingressing into Cancer.

The Sun, Venus, Ceres and Cyllarus have remained in conjunction around the first degree of Cancer and opposite Pluto. Venus sextiles Saturn. The Moon is now in Capricorn in wide conjunction with Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius. The Moon squares Vesta in Aries. Mars in Leo opposes Chiron and Neptune on the North Node of the Moon.

Uranus is very tightly opposite cubewano 2005 FY9 in Virgo. 2005 FY9 is a big Kuiper belt object, one of the three bright objects whose existence was announced in July 2005. The two other bodies were Eris and 2003 EL61. The discoverer Mike Brown and his team have nicknamed 2005 FY9 as “Easter bunny.”

2005 FY9 is a classical Kuiper belt object. Its size is about three-quarters the size of Pluto. It is the third larges Kuiper belt object after Eris and Pluto, and the second brightest Kuiper belt object after Pluto. The orbital period is 308 years, so it is orbiting the Sun a little farther than Pluto. Like Pluto’s, its orbit is somewhat eccentric and highly inclined. It is sometimes referred as “a Pluto twin”, because it is very similar to Pluto, having its surface covered in frozen methane, and possibly also having a thin atmosphere, like Pluto.

Uranus and 2005 FY9 are both occupying 22+ degrees of the signs that they are residing at the moment, Pisces and Virgo, respectively. They have been traveling in conjunction within one-degree orb since May. Uranus is going to station retrograde at the end of June, while 2005 FY9 goes on in direct motion, so they don’t quite reach the exact opposition aspect this time. The exact opposition is going to take place in April 2009.

2005 FY9 is not yet named by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), but we can expect to hear about the naming any day now. This is due to the IAU’s decision last week to name bright, Pluto-like dwarf planets as plutoids. There are two plutoids named at the moment: Pluto and Eris. The two other objects fitting in the category are 2005 FY9 and 2003 EL61. According to the current naming rules of the IAU, 2005 FY9 will receive a permanent name after a creation deity.

One of the attributes of Uranus is suddenness. People have been waiting for the naming of this new, quite big and bright object 2005 FY9, and nothing has happened. Now there is this very accurate aspect between Uranus and 2005 FY9 in the skies. Also the IAU announced the naming of a new category as plutoids, which came as a surprise even to researchers and discoverers of these new objects. The IAU’s decision now also enables the naming of 2005 FY9.

The fact that astronomers found a planet bigger than Pluto, which led to the demotion of Pluto, and the naming of Eris about two years ago, has left 2005 FY9 for less attention. 2005 FY9 is a notable member of the new solar system, and now it is a high time to give it some heed it deserves.

Full Moon in Sagittarius — June 18, 2008, 17:30 UT

Friday, June 13th, 2008

By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis

This profound Full Moon of June falls in the late degrees of Sagittarius conjunct Pluto and right on the Galactic Core. This is also another Aries Point event, as the Moon and Sun are squaring the Aries Point.

Every astrological factor has its polar opposite. At the moment of any Full Moon, the Sun and the Moon, a pair of polar opposites representing masculine and feminine, are opposing each other. Now they are aligned with the Galactic Core, the heart of our home galaxy. Also another pair of polar opposites is aligned with the Core: Venus, the ruler of Taurus, is tightly opposite Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio, the opposite sign of Taurus.

An opposition is the aspect of awareness. It can also mean confrontation, a face-to-face meeting, in this case involving love, relationships, desires, creativity, dark secrets, power or sex. Due to the involvement of the fixed points, a strong collective nature is present, which is able to affect us in a deep and noticeable way.

The Galactic Core is a massive cluster of stars at the core of the Milky Way. The Gemini-Sagittarius axis is an unusual section of space. When facing toward Sagittarius from Gemini, one gazes into the galaxy toward the core of the Milky Way. When facing Gemini, one looks out into open intergalactic space. The Galactic Core has something to do with the mysteries of our origins, and it may relate directly to our experiences of God, of soul and of higher self. We are all affected by the pulls from the Core.

It is possible that in astrology the Galactic Core has a significant role in the importance of the first degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), which begin the seasons. The cardinal points join individuals with the collective.

Pluto, the great transformer, associated with sex, death, money and power, is retrograding in the last degree of Sagittarius. Pluto makes the sign ingress from Capricorn back to Sagittarius on June 14 and remains there almost the rest of the year, re-entering Capricorn in November. This zone of the zodiac, where Sagittarius meets Capricorn close to the center of the galaxy, is the part of the sky associated with the 2012 phenomenon.

The Sun in sociable Gemini is still in conjunction with Venus. Venus has just recently passed the midpoint between the 2004 and 2012 Venus transits of the Sun. Venus opposes the Galactic Core on June 16, then opposes Pluto and enters Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon, on the day of the Full Moon.

The Aries Point is the first degree of Aries. Any time a planet arrives in that degree, or makes a square or opposition to that degree, we can notice the effect. The combined effect of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Pluto and the Aries Point is what we are witnessing now. The Point has some unusual properties: public contact, a collective quality, the personalization of large events, and lasting effects through time, for example.

This Full Moon occurs close the Cancer Solstice, the beginning of a new season, summer in the north and winter in the south.

Ceres has entered the emotional Cancer about a week before this Full Moon. Ceres is in conjunction with the Sun and opposite Pluto. Opposition is the aspect of confrontation. In the well-known myth, Ceres and Pluto also confronted each other. In the myth Ceres’ daughter Proserpina was abducted into the underworld by Pluto. In her desperation Ceres stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables. Proserpina was freed, but she had to spend a part of each year in the underworld with her husband Pluto; for the other part, she was able to return to living with her mother on Earth. This story illustrates the changing of the seasons. When the daughter returns to her mother, nature starts blossoming again. Ceres can represent the nurturing we receive from others, but also how we function as nurturers in our relationships.

The Sun is also conjunct Cyllarus, a small Centaur planet discovered ten years ago. The myth of Cyllarus and Hylonome is a Romeo and Juliet type of love story. Cyllarus reminds us to be conscious of the choices we are making in our lives. The decisions we make directly affect our relationships, and we need to be conscious of our choices in this context. The threads of our lives connect us to every person in them. We are also part of our environments.

Mercury, still retrograde, is slow and powerful in Gemini, and makes its direct station on the day following the Full Moon, exactly opposite Ixion and the Great Attractor. Ixion is a minor planet representing that which we are all capable of. The Great Attractor is a powerful point in Sagittarius, a mass of dark matter pulling everything, including our galaxy, toward it. Astrologically the point has a polarizing effect, sometimes pushing emotions and ideas to extremes. Beware of the Mercury storm, which surrounds the Mercury station by about three days on either side!

***

Pluto has a considerable role in this chart. At the time of writing this article, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) released a press release: Plutoid chosen as name for Solar System objects like Pluto. Almost two years after the IAU General Assembly introduced the category of dwarf planets and demoted Pluto, the IAU has decided on a name — plutoid — for transneptunian dwarf planets similar to Pluto.

A plutoid is a dwarf planet that orbits beyond Neptune. A dwarf planet must be large enough to be round. They also decided to restrict the definition to the brightest of the dwarf planets. There are two plutoids named at the moment: Pluto and Eris. The two other objects fitting in the category are 2003 EL61 and 2005 FY9. This news is probably auguring the naming of those two unnamed planets at last!

The dwarf planet Ceres is not a plutoid as it is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres is the only object of its kind (stated the IAU) — large enough to be round and inside the orbit of Neptune. Therefore, a separate category of Ceres-like dwarf planets will not be proposed.

Mike Brown, the discoverer of all three known plutoids besides Pluto, wrote in his blog: “If Pluto is happy being a Plutoid then it is probably OK with the rest of us.”


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