Archive for May, 2015

New Moon in Taurus — May 18, 2015, 04:13 UT

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

The Taurus New Moon yesterday was in conjunction with Sedna, an inner Oort cloud object, and one of the most distant objects of our solar system. It was also opposite Huya, a trans-Neptunian object in the Kuiper belt region. Both bodies seem to tell us something about the consequences of our actions on the environment. Both of them are currently near their perihelion, the point in their orbit where they are nearest to the Sun.

38628 Huya is a plutino with an orbital period of nearly 248 years. Like Pluto, Huya sometimes travels inside the orbit of Neptune. Huya was in perihelion in December 2014.

Huya was discovered in March 2000 in Venezuela and named after Juyá, the rain god of the indigenous Wayuu people of Venezuela and Colombia. Juyá is a master of rain, and he lives in a distant place beyond the Sun. The Wayuu inhabit the arid Guajira Peninsula, where the lack of water is a huge problem. By naming the body after Juyá, the Wayuu hoped that the rain god would give them the miracle of water.

The traditional Wayuu style of living seems to be on a collision course with the changes caused by modern technologies. The Wayuu have had to deal with problems caused by the coal mining industry. Their environment has been polluted and they suffer from health problems. They are forced to relocate and leave their ancestral land. A Wayuu leader Jorge Montiel has said: “We will not be removed from the lands where our ancestors are buried. We are defending the animals, the forests and the water. This planet can’t withstand any more contamination. What good is all this wealth from oil and coal if we are dying of diseases and misery?”

90377 Sedna’s orbit around the Sun is exceptionally long and elongated, and the orbital period is approximately 11,400 years. In an astrological chart Sedna works almost like a fixed star. Sedna is nearing its perihelion in 2076.

Sedna was discovered in November 2003. The discoverer Mike Brown said: “Our newly discovered object is the coldest most distant place known in the Solar System, so we feel it is appropriate to name it in honor of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea, who is thought to live at the bottom of the frigid Arctic Ocean.”

In the art Sedna is often depicted as a mermaid with long black hair. Sedna was a young Inuit girl who sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and became the mighty queen of the underworld. When Sedna is happy, she releases her mammals and allows the humans to eat from the bounty of the sea. If she is not respected, she sends storms and starvation. Then a shaman must visit her, comb her black tangled hair and calm her down again.

The Arctic region is a unique area, which so far has remained comparatively clean. The Arctic holds 1/5 of the Earth’s water supply. We should do our utmost for protecting the Arctic. An oil spill would have a catastrophic impact. There is no way to clean up oil underneath the thick ice. Recently president Obama granted Shell approval to start drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Finland plays a grim role in Shell’s plans. Two icebreakers owned by a Finnish state-owned firm Arctia Shipping are going to assist Shell. As Tapio Laakso from Greenpeace said, it is a national shame.