beyond neptune

That Time We Flew Past Pluto…

Two years ago today (July 14), our New Horizons spacecraft made its closest flyby of Pluto…collecting images and science that revealed a geologically complex world. Data from this mission are helping us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system.

The spacecraft is now venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt…a relic of solar system formation…to reach its next target. On New Year’s Day 2019, New Horizons will zoom past a Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69.

The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy bodies – including dwarf planets such as Pluto – and comets beyond the orbit of Neptune. It extends from about 30 to 55 Astronomical Units (an AU is the distance from the sun to Earth) and is probably populated with hundreds of thousands of icy bodies larger than 62 miles across, and an estimated trillion or more comets.

Nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto, you may be asking how the spacecraft will function for the 2014 MU69 flyby. Well, New Horizons was originally designed to fly far beyond the Pluto system and explore deeper into the Kuiper Belt. 

The spacecraft carries extra hydrazine fuel for the flyby; its communications system is designed to work from beyond Pluto; its power system is designed to operate for many more years; and its scientific instruments were designed to operate in light levels much lower than it will experience during the 2014 MU69 flyby.

What have we learned about Pluto since its historic flyby in 2015?

During its encounter, the New Horizons spacecraft collected more than 1,200 images of Pluto and tens of gigabits of data. The intensive downlinking of information took about a year to return to Earth! Here are a few things we’ve discovered:

Pluto Has a Heart

This image captured by New Horizons around 16 hours before its closest approach shows Pluto’s “heart.” This stunning image of one of its most dominant features shows us that the heart’s diameter is about the same distance as from Denver to Chicago. This image also showed us that Pluto is a complex world with incredible geological diversity.

Icy Plains

Pluto’s vast icy plain, informally called Sputnik Planitia, resembles frozen mud cracks on Earth. It has a broken surface of irregularly-shaped segments, bordered by what appear to be shallow troughs.

Majestic Mountains

Images from the spacecraft display chaotically jumbled mountains that only add to the complexity of Pluto’s geography. The rugged, icy mountains are as tall as 11,000 feet high.

Color Variations

This high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. The surface of Pluto has a remarkable range of subtle color variations. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story.

Foggy Haze and Blue Atmosphere

Images returned from the New Horizons spacecraft have also revealed that Pluto’s global atmospheric haze has many more layers than scientists realized. The haze even creates a twilight effect that softly illuminates nightside terrain near sunset, which makes them visible to the cameras aboard the spacecraft.

Water Ice

New Horizons detected numerous small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto. Scientists are eager to understand why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places.

Stay updated on New Horizons findings by visiting the New Horizons page. You can also keep track of Pluto News on Twitter via @NASANewHorizons.

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Astronomy and Astrophysics: Facts

Here is a list of some curiosities of astronomy and astrophysics. From our solar system to interstellar space.

Pluto: Pluto  is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond Neptune. It was the first Kuiper belt object to be discovered. Like other Kuiper belt objects, Pluto is primarily made of ice and rock and is relatively small—about one-sixth the mass of the Moon and one-third its volume. It has a moderately eccentric and inclined orbit during which it ranges from 30 to 49 astronomical units or AU (4.4–7.4 billion km) from the Sun. 

Great Red Spot: The Great Red Spot is a persistent zone of high pressure, producing an anticyclonic storm on the planet Jupiter, 22° south of the equator. It has been continuously observed for 187 years, since 1830. Earlier observations from 1665 to 1713 are believed to have been the same storm; if this is correct, it has existed for more than 350 years.

Moons of Jupiter: There are 69 known moons of Jupiter. This gives Jupiter the largest number of moons with reasonably stable orbits of any planet in the Solar System. 

Uranus: Axial tilt: The Uranian axis of rotation is approximately parallel with the plane of the Solar System, with an axial tilt of 97.77° (as defined by prograde rotation). This gives it seasonal changes completely unlike those of the other planets. Near the solstice, one pole faces the Sun continuously and the other faces away. Only 

VFTS 102: VFTS 102 is a star located in the Tarantula nebula, a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

The peculiarity of this star is its projected equatorial velocity of ~600 km/s (about 2.000.000 km/h), making it the fastest rotating massive star known. The resulting centrifugal force tends to flatten the star; material can be lost in the loosely bound equatorial regions, allowing for the formation of a disk. The spectroscopic observations seem to confirm this, and the star is classified as Oe, possibly due to emission from such an equatorial disk of gas.

Black Holes: Monsters in Space: This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity. 

Saturn’s hexagon: Saturn’s hexagon is a persisting hexagonal cloud pattern around the north pole of Saturn, located at about 78°N. The sides of the hexagon are about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long, which is more than the diameter of Earth (about 12,700 km (7,900 mi)). 

Gravitational lens: A gravitational lens is a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant light source and an observer, that is capable of bending the light from the source as the light travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing, and the amount of bending is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Quasar: A quasar is an active galactic nucleus of very high luminosity. A quasar consists of a supermassive black hole surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk of gas. As gas in the accretion disk falls toward the black hole, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Quasars emit energy across the electromagnetic spectrum and can be observed at radio, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths. 

Stretching SpaceTime: According to general relativity, the sun’s mass makes an imprint on the fabric of spacetime that keeps the planets in orbit. A neutron star leaves a greater mark. But a black hole is so dense that it creates a pit deep enough to prevent light from escaping.

Source: Wikipedia, NASA & ESO 

Image credit: NASA, JPL, New Horizons, Keck Observatory, Hubble, Chandra, Kevin Gill, James Provost  

(A table of contents is available. This series will remain open for additional posts and the table of contents up-to-date as new posts are added.)

Part Six: Types of Planets

I wish I could say what we’re going to talk about next is a complete and perfect list of the types of planets that could form in your created systems. Unfortunately, we just don’t know enough about our galaxy and universe to be able to say that for certain. What I can say is that this is our current best guess.

As I said in Part Four, planets form out of the spinning cloud of debris around the star. As they pick up whatever happens to be in their path, they gain mass, and spin together into planets with specific elements creating their cores. From what we’ve observed so far, every planet has some kind of highly dense core, even the gas giants who boast thick gaseous envelopes around their cores. There’s a correlation between a planet’s mass and radius that helps us determine what a planet is most likely to be composed of. Check it out:

R in the above graph means radius, as measured in Earth’s radius, and M is a planet’s mass, as measured by Earth’s mass. The solid lines note homogeneous planets, that is, those that are comprised of a single material: Hydrogen, water, silicates, and iron. The dotted lines denote planets formed from mixes of materials, like Jupiter and Saturn as mixed hydrogen and helium planets, and water worlds composed mostly of water with silicates and iron in various percentages. These types of planets are not considered capable of sustaining life.

One chief characteristic of a habitable planet is that they’re thought to be considered “terrestrial,” and in order to be terrestrial, a planet has to be considered rocky and composed mostly of carbon, silicate, and/or metals. Those planets are marked on the above graph using the red-orange and green colored lines, varying from pure silicate worlds, Earth-like silicate-dominant worlds with iron cores, planets with silicate mantles and more massive iron cores, and those comprised of a pure iron core.

Take a look at at it another way:

These types of planets are classified by composition as:

  • Gas giants (or gas dwarfs, depending on their mass) - planets composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Includes Jupiter and Saturn.
    • Eccentric Jupiters are gas giants with orbits that are not circular. All non-circular orbits are considered “eccentric” and can either be elliptical, parabolic, or hyperbolic 
    • Hot Jupiters are one variety of gas giant that orbits close to the planet’s sun, causing the surface to be very high. These are close enough that their gases are being burned off, leaving a trail of material in their wake. Because of the required circumstances of forming a gas giant, they’re thought to have formed away from the star and migrated inward.
    • Hot Saturns are also called puffy planets, with densities similar or lower than Saturn but with an extra large radius.
    • Hot Neptunes are similar to the concept of Hot Jupiters in that they’re similar in mass to Neptune and Uranus and orbit close to their star.
      • Once these migrated gas giants–the Hot planets–have had their gaseous atmospheres stripped, their cores remain and they become Chthonian planets.
  • Ice giants - planets composed of substances heavier than hydrogen and helium, including water, methane, and ammonia. Includes Neptune and Uranus.
  • Terrestrial planets - planets composed of carbon, silicate, and/or metals, including: carbon planets, silicate planets, and iron planets according to what they’re made of. Includes all the inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
  • The water planets mentioned in the above charts are considered a theoretical type of planet called an ocean planet. There’s also theoretical desert planets and lava planets depending on what their surfaces are comprised of.
  • Dwarf planets are a step below true “planet” in terms of labeling, and are characterized by the following: They orbit a sun, are not a moon, are nearly round in shape (which requires a certain level of mass), and, most importantly, have not cleared the debris from their orbit. Includes Pluto. (Of course, these days, dwarf planets orbiting our sun beyond Neptune are considered “plutoids,” but that’s just a nicety and wouldn’t apply to any dwarf planets outside our own solar system.)

Some other ways of classifying planets are names that apply specifically to our own solar system:

  • Exoplanets or extrasolar planets orbit other stars, but not our sun.
  • Extragalactic planets are outside the Milky Way.
  • Inferior planets orbit our sun within the Earth’s orbit.
  • Superior planets orbit out sun outside Earth’s orbit.
  • Inner planets orbit our sun within the asteroid belt.
  • Outer planets orbit our sun outside the asteroid belt.

Finally, you can also classify planets based on what they’re orbiting:

  • Circumbinary planets orbit two stars.
  • Double planets, or binary planets, are two planetary masses orbiting each other.
  • Pulsar planets orbit pulsars (rapidly rotating neutron stars).
  • Rogue or interstellar planets orbit the center of the galaxy, not a specific system’s star.

Next up: Orbits!

Carl Sagan suggested to NASA the idea to turn the Voyager 1 camera back towards Earth, when the spacecraft went beyond Neptune for one last look at what he called « the Pale Blue Dot »

“And whilst I suppose it has a very limited scientific value, for me, this tiny point of light is the most powerful and profound demonstration of perhaps the most human of qualities : our unique ability to reflect on the universe’s existence and our place within it.” — Prof. Brian Cox

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

We love Lucy—our spacecraft that will visit the ancient Trojan asteroids near Jupiter, that is. This week, let us count the ways this 2021 mission could revolutionize what we know about the origins of Earth and ourselves.

1. Lucky Lucy 

Earlier this year, we selected the Lucy mission to make the first-ever visit to a group of asteroids known as the Trojans. This swarm of asteroids orbits in two loose groups around the Sun, with one group always ahead of Jupiter in its path, and the other always behind. The bodies are stabilized by the Sun and Jupiter in a gravitational balancing act, gathering in locations known as Lagrange points.

2. Old. Really, Really Old

Jupiter’s swarms of Trojan asteroids may be remnants of the material that formed our outer planets more than 4 billion years ago—so these fossils may help reveal our most distant origins. “They hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system,” said Dr. Harold F. Levison, Lucy principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.

3. A Link to The Beatles

Lucy takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor, called “Lucy” by her discoverers, whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity’s evolution. On the night it was discovered in 1974, the team’s celebration included dancing and singing to The Beatles’ song “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” At some point during that evening, expedition member Pamela Alderman named the skeleton “Lucy,” and the name stuck. Jump ahead to 2013 and the mission’s principal investigator, Dr. Levison, was inspired by that link to our beginnings to name the spacecraft after Lucy the fossil. The connection to The Beatles’ song was just icing on the cake.

4. Travel Itinerary

One of two missions selected in a highly competitive process, Lucy will launch in October 2021. With boosts from Earth’s gravity, it will complete a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids: a Main Belt asteroid and six Trojans.

5. Making History

No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around the Sun. Lucy will show us, for the first time, the diversity of the primordial bodies that built the planets.

6. What Lies Beneath 

Lucy’s complex path will take it to both clusters of Trojans and give us our first close-up view of all three major types of bodies in the swarms (so-called C-, P- and D-types). The dark-red P- and D-type Trojans resemble those found in the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies that extends beyond the orbit of Neptune. The C-types are found mostly in the outer parts of the Main Belt of asteroids, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. All of the Trojans are thought to be abundant in dark carbon compounds. Below an insulating blanket of dust, they are probably rich in water and other volatile substances.

7. Pretzel, Anyone?

This diagram illustrates Lucy’s orbital path. The spacecraft’s path (green) is shown in a slowly turning frame of reference that makes Jupiter appear stationary, giving the trajectory its pretzel-like shape.

8. Moving Targets

This time-lapsed animation shows the movements of the inner planets (Mercury, brown; Venus, white; Earth, blue; Mars, red), Jupiter (orange), and the two Trojan swarms (green) during the course of the Lucy mission.

9. Long To-Do List

Lucy and its impressive suite of remote-sensing instruments will study the geology, surface composition, and physical properties of the Trojans at close range. The payload includes three imaging and mapping instruments, including a color imaging and infrared mapping spectrometer and a thermal infrared spectrometer. Lucy also will perform radio science investigations using its telecommunications system to determine the masses and densities of the Trojan targets.

10. Dream Team

Several institutions will come together to successfully pull off this mission. The Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, is the principal investigator institution. Our Goddard Space Flight Center will provide overall mission management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. Instruments will be provided by Goddard, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and Arizona State University. Discovery missions are overseen by the Planetary Missions Program Office at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for our Planetary Science Division.

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Do you know?
  1. A day on Venus is longer than a year.
  2. 33 light years away there is an exoplanet completely covered in burning ice.
  3. About 275 million new stars are born everyday.
  4. According to astronauts, space smells like seared steak, hot metal, and welding fumes.
  5. Each year the moon moves 3.8 cm further from the Earth.
  6. Earth has over 8,000 pieces of space junk orbiting around it.
  7. Earth’s rotation is slowing at a rate of about 17 milliseconds a century.
  8. Far beyond Neptune, there may be an object the size of Earth orbiting the sun.
  9. If you could compress the Earth down to the size of a marble, it would collapse on itself and become a black hole.
  10. One spoonful of matter from a neutron star would weigh about a billion tons.
  11. There’s a gas cloud in the constellation of Aquila that contains enough alcohol to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

Thanks to the twin Voyager spacecraft, music is truly universal: Each carries a Golden Record with sights, sounds and songs from Earth as it sails on through the Milky Way. Recalling the classic rock era of the late 1970s when the Voyagers launched, this poster is an homage to the mission’s greatest hits. Some of the most extraordinary discoveries of the probes’ first 40 years include the volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io, the hazy nitrogen atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan and the cold geysers on Neptune’s moon Triton. Voyager 1 is also the first spacecraft to deliver a portrait of our planets from beyond Neptune, depicting Earth as a ‘pale blue dot,’ as of Aug. 25, 2012, to enter interstellar space. Voyager 2 is expected to enter interstellar space in the coming years. Even after 40 years, the Voyagers’ hits just keep on coming.  

Enjoy this and other Voyager anniversary posters. Download them for free here:

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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anonymous asked:

What about planet x?

Some things like the gravitational pull of objects in the outer solar system indicate that there may be another planet well beyond the orbit of Neptune. This planet - if it exists - would be 10 times more massive than Earth, and would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one complete orbit around the Sun.

Planet X or planet 9 has not yet been discovered, and there is a debate in the scientific community about whether it exists.

One of the main difficulties of detecting this planet is the distance, because it would reflect very little sunlight. But it is probable that Planet x is currently iat or near the aphelion, so perhaps if it existed it would be a good opportunity to detect it .

I’ll leave two links if you want to know more about planet x, click here and here.

Images: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) & K. Batygin and M. E. Brown Astronom.  


Goodbye, Planet Nine! New And Better Data Disfavors A Giant World Beyond Neptune

“[T]he whole motivation that Batygin and Brown’s theory relies on isn’t that “these objects exist,” but rather that “these objects exist and their clustering is very unlikely to happen just by chance.” But the likelihood of what you see relies heavily on where you’ve observed and with what sensitivity you’ve made those observations. If you find clustered objects because you spent more of your observing time looking in the locations where you’d see clustering, that doesn’t mean there’s anything unusual. In fact, it’s more likely, if that’s the case, that there isn’t anything unusual; it’s more likely that you’re the victim of a phenomenon called detection bias.”

Last year, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown made a huge splash when they announced that the Solar System likely contained a super-Earth-sized object beyond the orbit of Neptune. They dubbed the world ‘Planet Nine,’ and claimed that it was responsible for the orbits of the longest-period Trans-Neptunian Objects ever discovered. The fact that the orbits were clustered in both ecliptic latitude and longitude cried out for an explanation, and Planet Nine fit. But an additional world isn’t the only plausible cause of the clustering of these distant objects; another possibility is that the hitherto discovered objects were biased in some way. If you’re only searching for objects in the locations that would show you these correlations, then you’re going to find the correlations. The solution? To do a survey capable of distinguishing between whether the effect is solely due to bias, or the existence of Planet Nine.

The first comprehensive, four-year results from OSSOS are now in, and with eight candidate TNOs with the right properties, they don’t see any signature for Planet Nine. Looks like the evidence has gone up in smoke!

The truth about Neptune:

We will be getting deeper to what Neptune stands for or represent. It’s not all about dreams, illusions and drugs. Getting lost in the bad or negative image that some astrologers put on Neptune does delude us from it’s role and ability. People tend to focus on the negative of Neptune more than the positive and ironically they always tell you Neptune is a mirror and never think that what they might be writing about Neptune is their own reflection or subjective views of Neptune which is far from the truth of what Neptune is. Getting lost in the simplified & Negative labels that are put on Neptune does blind people from actually realizing that there’s more to this planet, more deeper stuff than any one can imagine. 

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mercury symbolizes androgyny and indeterminate gender, but neptune ascends beyond this recognition to a place where experience is indefinable omnipresence. the pathway to neptune sovereignty however, is confusing and psychotic at best. on crystal heels the hall is frozen, cracking, and promising redemption but threatening madness. we so badly want to believe the deception. although neptune emerges to remind us that truth and lie are wrapped in each other, that life does not exist without death, and that you cannot be saved without falling

Neptune - Through the Loony Looking Glass

if you drink much from a bottle marked poison… its bound to disagree with you sooner or later                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

We are all strong until we hear the Neptune song. Idealisation and dream is always more powerful than reality. The seduction of symphony and dance and art can be impossible to resist, especially for people with emphasised Neptune, Pisces, and the 12th house in the birth chart. Tumbling down the void with Alice, Neptune is ascension and destruction. There is a loss of identity as we confront unusual experiences, colours rising from the unconscious, the collective family, waves of delirium and intoxication. And when we try to explain the experience we are lost for words or labeled as nonsense, it can only really be transmuted in art or poetry or sex. Neptune is gazing through the looking glass of a thousand dreams glossed in godly vision, creative genius, and enticing chaos. It is stillness that is only momentary, but worth sacrificing everything for, and to some, the lure is too captivating, and so there is addiction, or lethargy, or poisonous relationships. In mythology, Neptune was assigned to the ocean. Neptune’s gender is evasive, it symbolizes a oneness, the muse playing orchestras from the clouds. Neptune is the higher octave of feminine Venus, but Neptune is the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, and descended from Poseidon and his son, Triden. Mercury symbolizes androgyny and indeterminate gender, but Neptune ascends beyond this recognition to a place where experience is indefinable omnipresence. But the pathway to Neptune sovereignty is confusing and psychotic at best. On crystal heels the hall is frozen, cracking, and promising redemption but threatening madness. We so badly want to believe the deception. Although Neptune emerges to remind us that truth and lie are wrapped in each other, that life does not exist without death, and that you cannot be saved without falling


Haumea, the most peculiar of Pluto companions, has a ring around it

At the ends of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune, there is a belt of objects composed of ice and rocks, among which four dwarf planets stand out: Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. The latter is the least well known of the four and was recently the object of an international observation campaign which was able to establish its main physical characteristics. The study, led by astronomers from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia and published in Nature, reveals the presence of a ring around the planet.

Trans-neptunian objects are difficult to study because of their small size, their low brightness, and the enormous distances that separate us from them. A very efficient but complex method lies in the study of stellar occultations, or the passing of these objects in front of a star (like a small eclipse). It allows astronomers to determine the main physical characteristics of an object (size, shape, and density) and has been successfully applied to dwarf planets Pluto, Eris and Makemake.

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Ms M’s Long-Anticipated Rulerships Post

(Bashed out this morning, since the daily vacation headache is on the milder side today.)

Way back when, in the halcyon days when both my kids’ ages were measured in single digits and they did what I told them the first time, the only way I could learn astrology was to ponder it whenever I could. Circumstances precluded writing down notes, book-buying, and leisure hours to study what I already had. (Leisure seconds was more like it, frankly.)

I did a lot of mental gymnastics with the “building blocks” of astrology - element, polarity, modality, and orientation. I also looked at the signs by season (spring, summer, fall, winter), which in the houses we call quadrants; by whether or not the length of the days in the northern hemisphere was increasing (Capricorn through Gemini) or decreasing (Cancer through Sagittarius); and by length of daylight (Aries through Virgo, day > night; Libra through Pisces, day < night).

That probably seems complicated. But I stuck with it. And thanks to my perseverance, I don’t have to run for books or web sites to answer most of your astrological questions.

One way I “played” was to consider the different signs by putting their ruling planets into the different categories. For example, the fire sign rulers are Mars/Aries, Sun/Leo, and Jupiter/Sagittarius. What does that tell us about the fire signs? No fire signs are in winter, either - which is pretty obvious, but it taught me how useful it might be to look at the other seasons in a similar manner.

And, you can take that another way, getting a feel for a planet by thinking about what signs it likes. Mars rules Aries, is exalted in Capricorn, and both co-rules and is the esoteric ruler of Scorpio. No air signs! Nothing in the “summer” quadrant (Cancer, Leo, Virgo)! Which also lacks air signs!

But the most useful mind play came with orientation. This division is fairly new, and splits the Zodiac into three sections:

  • Personal - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer - focused on personal wants and needs; “working on ourselves” (as the adage goes).
  • Interpersonal - Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio - focused on one-to-one relationships; helping other people.

  • Transpersonal - Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces - focused on global and universal issues; making the world a better place.

Let’s look at the planets which rule those signs, now. (By this time, the early 2000s, the arguments about where to put asteroids and centaurs were common, and I’d already tentatively assigned them to Virgo and Libra.)

  • Personal - Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon
  • Interpersonal - Sun, ?Mercury ?Asteroids, ?Venus ?Chiron, Pluto

  • Transpersonal - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

At the time I probably didn’t scream out loud, because that would have awakened the baby, but would you just look at that?!? From the astronomical viewpoint, I mean! The transpersonal planets - all giants, with rings, with millions of moons, and each one is further and further away from the Sun! That has to be important! And the personal planets - the first three get closer and closer to the Sun, and the Moon (from our earthly vantage) is almost the same as the Sun, and all those rulers are chunks of rock!

Over time I worked out the personal planets’ roles:

  • Mars, the drive to be alive in the first place;
  • Venus, the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch);
  • Mercury, the brain/CPU necessary to process sensory input, and recognize it (e.g., it feels cold, I see a cheetah);
  • Moon, the ability to form a response to the output (e.g., put on a jacket, run like hell).

Those four pieces eventually lead us to become our Solar identities - Sun/Leo, the next sign/step after the Moon/Cancer.

The transpersonal planets are more complicated. Of course; it’s intrinsic. They all have rings, which implies that “ring-pass-not” occult theories are involved with each sign’s process: you have tests to undergo. And all those little moons must show various steps, perhaps various lifetimes, in which we’re tested. Right?

The interpersonal planets really stumped me for some time, until I realized that what they all have in common is that ASTRONOMICALLY SPEAKING THEY AREN’T PLANETS. (Neither, of course, is the Moon. I’m still working out that part.) Not until I considered where they are in the solar system - how they’re placed, relative to everything else - did anything begin to make sense to me.

  • The Asteroids are found between Mars and Jupiter. They separate the inner and outer planets.
  • Chiron’s orbit lies between (principally) Saturn and Uranus. It separates the planets we can easily see, and the planets we need a telescope to see.
  • Pluto’s orbit lies (mostly) beyond Neptune’s orbit. It’s the barrier between the entire solar system, and the entire rest of the universe.

Now, one book I did manage to read during this time was Starhawk’s The Earth Path, in which she quotes (snarking) that eminent occult philosopher Donald Rumsfeld: “There are known knowns. These are things that we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

It seemed plain to me that the asteroids represent the “known knowns.” We have our Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Moon skills woven into our unique Solar identities. Having our acts together as fully functioning human beings is the necessary first step toward participating in a greater sphere (the outer planets). It made sense to me that the asteroids “rule” Virgo based also upon astronomy. All those little bitty chunks of rock never quite got their act together to become a real planet - and that’s been a challenge for every Virgo-influenced person I’ve known.

Next, Chiron and the rest of the Centaurs, representing Libra and the “known unknowns.” With our naked eyes we can see Jupiter and Saturn just fine, without aid; the vast majority of us need help to look at Uranus, and Neptune is beyond anyone’s vision. Yay telescopes! Each centaur has an individual orbit, between various outer planets. (Chiron’s orbit is mostly between Saturn and Uranus; Pholus’ orbit is between Saturn and the TNO Orcus, encompassing Uranus and Neptune; that of Nessus, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and TNOs Ixion and Orcus; Asbolus’ orbit gets close to Jupiter’s, and cuts through those of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.) They’re seen astrologically as “ambassadors” between those planets. Libra is the diplomat, remember. What I sense about this is that the centaurs help us use the lessons of Jupiter and Saturn to work through the Uranus and Neptune issues.

Finally, Pluto and the TNOs surround our entire solar system. What the hell else is out there, past them? Unknown unknowns. Things we don’t know that we don’t know. One step beyond! That Pluto occasionally “cuts” Neptune’s orbit shows how these guys sort of “come out of nowhere” to burst upon the scene. Eruptions from the unconscious, say.

I am someone who wants and needs to figure things out completely by and for myself, free of any influence. (There are hints in my chart about this trait; I also find it difficult to trust people.) It has to be all me - I won’t take part in any one else’s agenda. This explains why, after 30-plus years of study, I can’t adhere 100%  to any one astrologer’s cosmology. There’s always something wrong with it. I can be a bit of a magpie, borrowing this or that concept - but it has to make sense to me, first. I have to feel inside that it rings true.

As a result of how I’m “wired,” I also don’t insist that people believe exactly what I do. At the same time, however, “I know the things I know / And do the things I do,” in Dorothy Parker’s words; it works for me, and this is how I’ll proceed.

anonymous asked:

fuck me you sexy motherfucker

*S H R I E K S*




No, you know what? You know what? I’m going to pretend I never read this and never- NEPTUNE DAMN IT LORI IS LAUGHING AT ME. I BLAME YOU.

I should have learned my lesson the last time I thought it was a great idea to skype while I was answering asks. But did I? NO. Instead, like a mother-glubbing GOLDFISH I let myself forget because I assumed it would be a once-off! Of course it couldn’t be. BECAUSE MY LUCK IS SHIT.

Oh my Neptune…

anonymous asked:

Its impossible to please the representation shippers since many are unreasonable. Blake x Sun is problematic because faunus love is "lazy" and "forced" even though their attraction goes beyond race. Imagine if Neptune was a girl and acted the exact same manner with Weiss and she liked her back? The fandom would fall over themselves in the rush to ship them. Or if Sun was white and Blake was black. Biracial and diverse right? Nah! Evil het white boi get your hands off muh lesbian black gurl!! >:(

The double standards in this fndm are exponentially high.