Summer Solstice — June 21, 2019, 15:54 UT

Today is the summer solstice, when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and the day is longest. The Sun enters Cancer at 15:54 UT. Earth’s small companion in the last degree of Virgo is in square to the Sun, like it has been at several solstices before. I am not talking about the Moon, but Kamo`oalewa, the quasi-satellite of Earth.

469219 Kamo`oalewa was discovered in April 2016. It was brought into our consciousness as 2016 HO3 just about three years ago, in mid-June 2016. The naming took place last April. Kamo`oalewa is too small and too distant for us to be seen like the Moon, but nevertheless, it is our constant companion, looping around our planet.

Kamo`oalewa is actually a tiny Apollo asteroid, orbiting around the Sun, but viewed from the Earth it looks like it would be circling us. The orbits of quasi-satellites are unstable. Over time they tend to evolve to other types of resonant motion and no longer remain in the vicinity of the planet. Later they can move back to a quasi-satellite orbit again. Kamo`oalewa is not the only known quasi-satellite of Earth, but it is currently the closest and most stable, predicted to stay in this orbital state for several hundred years.

The orbit of Kamo`oalewa is intriguing. On its yearly round around the Sun, it spends half of the time inside the Earth’s orbit and half of the time outside. The orbit is also tilted a little, so it bobs up and down once a year through Earth’s orbital plane. See Kamo`oalewa’s fascinating dance here .

Astrologically the orbit of Kamo`oalewa is really weird. Sometimes it rushes through several astrological signs in a month. Then there are periods of time when it moves back and forth only two or three signs for decades. This means that there can be a few generations who have Kamo`oalewa appearing only in a handful of signs. We are now in a phase where Kamo`oalewa seems to be covering only degrees in Virgo, Libra and Scorpio. Thanks for astrologer Zane Stein for helping me to understand the strange orbit.

The name Kamoʻoalewa is derived from a Hawaiian word referring to an oscillating celestial object, which refers to the oscillating motion of Kamoʻoalewa in the sky as view from Earth. It is a name found in the Hawaiian chant Kumulipo. Kumulipo is an 18th-century chant in the Hawaiian language telling a creation story and including a genealogy of the members of Hawaiian royalty. It is a cosmogonic genealogy, which means that it relates to the stars and the moon. In the Kumulipo the world was created over a cosmic night, which was not just one night, but many nights over time.

You may think, why bother to pay any attention to Kamo`oalewa, because it is not a true moon, and at some point it is going to leave us anyway. It is worthwhile because it is with us now! A new planet emerges when we are ready to welcome its energy, or when we need it. If Kamo`oalewa has a special message, we are the ones to whom it is addressed to.

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