New Moon in Capricorn — January 17, 2018, 2:17 UT

Capricorn was packed with planets at the New Moon in the early hours of the morning. Besides the Sun and the Moon, there were Saturn (the ruler of the sign), Mercury, Pluto and Venus. The New Moon occurred in conjunction with Venus.

The New Moon was square to the dwarf planet Haumea in Libra and also square to the Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries. The Uranus-Eris conjunction is still affecting us, although it has started to unravel now. The peak of the conjunction was in 2016 – 2017. The whole time Haumea in Libra has been opposing the conjunction. Haumea and Eris have been forming a long ongoing opposition — a total of nine exact oppositions — between the years 2014 and 2018. The last of those exact aspects takes place in August 2018.

Uranus with its orbital period of 84 years, moves relatively fast compared to Eris. It conjoins Eris once every century. By contrast the recent opposition of Haumea and Eris is the first one in the modern era. It takes about 285 years from Haumea to orbit the Sun, and almost 560 years from Eris. Our experience of the current planetary energies is quite unique.

Haumea is one of the weirdest objects of our solar system. In addition to its many interesting astronomical features known to us already, it revealed yet another oddity last year. Haumea has a ring! Objects with rings are not rare in our solar system in general. All four giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – have them. Centaur Chariklo has two rings, and Chiron – also a centaur – may have a similar pair of rings. Haumea is the first trans-Neptunian object found to have a ring though.

Haumea is one of the largest trans-Neptunian objects discovered. A recent study reveals that it is even bigger than what was thought before. The shape of Haumea resembles an American football, and the largest dimension is about 2300 km, approximately the same as the diameter of Pluto.

Haumea is the most bizarrely shaped and the fastest rotating body of its size class. The rotation period is only about four hours. It is almost entirely composed of rock, whereas most objects in the Kuiper Belt are about equal portions of rock and ice. Haumea has two moons, and it is followed in its orbit around the Sun by a swarm of small icy bodies that were ejected from the surface of Haumea, when another object slammed into it in the distant past. Scientists call them the Haumea family.

In Hawaiian mythology Haumea is the goddess of childbirth and fertility, and Hi’iaka and Namaka – after which the two moons were named – are her children. Haumea can take many different forms and has experienced many different rebirths. Her children sprang from different parts of her body. The myth obviously describes how the hot lava burst out from many surprising spots of the ground and starts to squirm towards the sea, forming new land, reshaping the landscape, and finally turning into fertile soil.

Every New Moon is a good time for new beginnings. Capricorn is an efficient and goal-oriented sign. With the presence of the loving Venus, the inventive Uranus, and the shape-shifting Haumea, projects and tasks that are started now have good prospects.

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