Archive for February, 2019

Full Moon in Virgo — February 19, 2019, 15:53 UT

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

A rare visitor from the distant parts of our solar system is passing us. Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) on a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun is an extreme trans-Neptunian object (ETNO), “a cousin” of Sedna and the like. Comet Iwamoto’s next visit won’t happen until around 3390 AD, if ever.

The existence of the new category of ETNOs was revealed due to the search for Planet 9, a planet which nobody has observed yet, but which is at least ten times more massive than the Earth and with a diameter two to four times the Earth, orbiting the Sun somewhere in the darkness far beyond Neptune.

Comet Iwamoto was discovered in December 2018 by a Japanese amateur astronomer. It passed closest to Earth on February 13, 2019. It is a near-parabolic comet with an orbit of 1371 years. Non-periodic comets on near-parabolic orbits usually never return to the vicinity of the Sun. Now, when passing through the inner solar system, Comet Iwamoto is moving fast! It is traveling in opposite direction to the planets.

Mark A. Holmes calculated Comet Iwamoto’s position at the Full Moon chart of February 19, 2019. Thank you, Mark. Comet Iwamoto is at 15+ degrees of Cancer in aspect to several planets, including the Sun and the Moon in the first degrees of Pisces and Virgo, respectively. It is opposite (180˚) Saturn and Venus in Capricorn, trine (120˚) Mercury and Neptune in Pisces, semisquare (45˚) the Moon in Virgo, sesquiquadrate (135˚) the Sun in Pisces and biseptile (103˚) Chiron in Aries.

The notable astrological event just recently was centaur Chiron’s sign change from Pisces to Aries on the day before the Full Moon, on February 18, 2019. The Moon in Virgo forms a quincunx (150˚) to Chiron at the Aries Point. The quincunx is a challenging aspect that requires adjustment. 95P/Chiron is a comet, too. Centaurs typically behave with characteristics of both asteroids and comets. Chiron was discovered in 1977 and initially designated as a minor planet, but in 1988 it brightened, developed a tail and got classified also as a comet.

Chiron was the first member of a new family of Chiron-type comets. Another member of this class is centaur Echeclus, which has showed cometary behavior more than once and now also has the cometary designation 174P/Echeclus. Any centaur getting close enough to the Sun is anticipated to become a comet. In the Full Moon chart Echeclus is in the last degree of Taurus, squaring the luminaries in Virgo and Pisces. Short period comets generally originate in the Kuiper belt whereas long period comets in the Oort cloud.

In astrology comets are seen as heralds of change. Erratic and disruptive energy can be sensed in other chart factors too, for example in the Mars-Uranus conjunction, although the luminaries form harmonious aspects to the conjunction. Pay attention (Chiron’s advice), stay focused and don’t get provoked.

New Moon in Aquarius — February 04, 2019, 21:03 UT

Monday, February 4th, 2019

The Sun is in mid-Aquarius. Finland lies under a thick snow cover. January was cold, and when I look at the scenery, it is hard to believe that we are already halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This is the time of the pagan festival called Imbolc, which marks the beginning of spring.

Candlemas, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is traditionally celebrated on February 2. On Candlemas, many Christians bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

The Slavic feast of Dziewanna Gromniczna (Dziewanna of the Thunder Candle) is celebrated also on February 2. Traditionally the thunder candles were lighted in honor of the goddess. They were placed on windowsills as protection during storms – a custom still widely practiced in Poland. People believed that the thunder candles protected from wolf attacks, too.

Dziewanna is a pre-Christian goddess of spring and wild nature. Yellow mullein flowers (Polish: dziewanna) are her symbol. Mullein is an herb which has been used thousands of years in folk medicine. You can make tea from its leaves and use it to help with respiratory conditions. The flowers can be crushed and used as a paste to disinfect scrapes. The flowers can be used even as a hair dye. In ancient times dried stalks were dipped in wax and used as torches, especially in ceremonies held in honor of the goddess Dziewanna.

Mullein in my garden last summer.
Photo: Copyright © Kirsti Melto.

The New Moon today at 15+ degrees Aquarius is square to the scattered disc object 471143 Dziewanna at 15+ degrees of Scorpio. 471143 Dziewanna is the latest named trans-Neptunian object. The orbital period is around 592 years, and the diameter about 470 kilometers, which makes it very likely a dwarf planet. It was discovered in 2010 by astronomers Andrzej Udalski, Scott Sheppard, Marcin Kubiak and Chad Trujillo during the Polish OGLE project of Warsaw University.

Hopefully Dziewanna brings us the spring.