Full Moon in Virgo — March 2, 2018, 00:51 UT

Last night’s Full Moon in Virgo was in conjunction with plutino 90482 Orcus.

90482 Orcus is a probable dwarf planet discovered in February 2004 by Brown, Trujillo and Rabinowitz. It has a large moon, Vanth. Orcus and Vanth form a binary system, and like the Pluto-Charon system, Orcus and Vanth are tidally locked.

The orbit of Orcus is similar to Pluto’s, but it is oriented differently. They have the same orbital period (247 and 248 years), and both have perihelia above the ecliptic plane, but their elongated orbits point in nearly opposite directions. Orcus is at aphelion when Pluto is at perihelion and vice versa. Because of the same orbital period and their mutual resonance with Neptune, they will always stay in opposite phases of their orbits. Orcus will come to aphelion (farthest distance from the Sun) in 2019.

Because of the similarities with Pluto, Orcus got named after one of the Roman equivalents of Pluto, the Etruscan god of the underworld. Orcus was also known as the punisher of broken oaths. It is likely that the name was transliterated from the Greek daemon Horkos, the personification of oaths. Oath-taking and the penalties for perjuring oneself played an important part in the Ancient Greek concept of justice. A curse was inflicted on a person who swore a false oath in the name of the gods.

The Sun in Pisces is now in conjunction with Neptune, which is associated with deception, lies and confusion, among other things. Keep your word, be clear in your expression, and don’t swear a false oath either.

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