How nice to see you again! I started at 2:20 a.m. EST and for a few hours now in this early pre-dawn I've been scoped on the new "morning star" Venus, which earlier in the year was our evening star, that job now taken in natural most perfect cosmic chaos by Jupiter. May I tell you what I'm seeing in my scope? You don't need one, not even bincos, Venus is so incredibly bright now you'll think you're looking at a small version of a bright moon. It's lighting up everything.
I'm noticing Venus appears very cresent-like close-up, as it has these past weeks, (though to the naked eye it appears as a very large bright sphere) and the Venusian rings look sparse and clustered tightly, in a bluish-gray. I can make out what look to be the usual space dust and miscellaneous orbiting ice and rock debris which make up the rings themselves. The rock looks very spherical and formed, which I imagine results from eons of continual orbit. Unlike Saturn, Venus's rings are less visible but nonetheless there. I see what my biased eye wants to call blue but I know that can't be - most likely it's a deeper gray. I can make out the brilliant orange-gold of the planet itself, far hotter than our sun. Even our own earth's core is hotter than sol.
Venus began the month very low on the eastern horizon about 1-1/2 hours before dawn, it's been easy pleasant viewing. All month it's been getting higher and higher, it's so high now my scope is tilted in a position where I have to sit very low down to watch it closely. If only you were awake right NOW! Well you are lol but...you know, back then - which is actually now, for me. (Say what? I'm in the present, talking about it, but it's already in the past, which you'll be experiencing when you read this, in your present) Ok, anyway.. Venus has now reached it's maximum brilliance magnitude of 4.8, that's 12 times brighter than Jupiter! By the 30th, Omicron (o) Leonis at a magnitude of 3.5 intends to spill into the Venusian realm only 1/4 degree to its south. Imagine how bright that'll be! Watch for it on the 30th in the southeast, pre-dawn.
You'll recall Venus had been our evening star with Jupiter our morning star, having now switched places, and all this month I've been reporting Jupiter's nightly show, drawing the eye southwestward at twilight. It occurs I should've made more posts, with all the little nightly differings in the constellations and their stars. I've refocused from the south in Casseopeia to the east again to catch the Venusian activity and, of course, the harvest moon starting this afternoon at approximately 3:56 PM EST. The full moon of the autumnal equinox will be awesome and visible to all after dusk. But it's the incredibly dazzling, brilliant torch of Venus in the pre-dawn hours that blow you away.
So much has happened this month, still happening and yet to happen. I'm hopeful about our full moon, the aptly named "harvest moon" and what it'll bring to the eye. There are a small number of detractors who demand continual proofs and stats, but it's been long-known by the simple evidence of experience that all living creatures on the planet are effected by the full moon, as you know. The liquid in our bodies will be slightly "tugged" at like a tide (you won't feel it) and for some, cause odd behaviors, suprising mood changes, and a general feeling of being "out of step". Many report they have "astral" experiences, as if you're in the wrong body. Does this happen to you?
You can measure how affected you are by simply walking on a hard surface and try to concentrate on your body's central gravitational core. Just walk slowly in your most "balanced" and customary state. If your central core feels slightly higher or lower, you're one of those millions who are very effected by the moon's phases. (It's Luna's phases, not her brilliance, which cause these oddities). Cancerians are ruled by the moon and experience great physical changes. (I know one person who is reading this and thinking "So that's why I grown hair and nails and start howling". He knows I know he'll say something witty, hopefully! and I'm ready for ya, pal :-))
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Here's a few interesting lunar factoids more in keeping with astrology but nonetheless very true for many. The moon is in Aries which is very energetic, dynamic and urges you to move quickly because something is left undone which truly needs looking after. A family matter. A financial one. A doctor's appointment you keep putting off. This is the time to seize opportune moments, as it is also moving rapidly to its peak and you may have a real sense that the finish line is in sight, the best chance you're going to get is now, so many would advise that you put closure to unresolved situations, or just get out there and start/finish what you've put on the back burner. It matters not that such things have no basis in fact - people experience these feelings and situations which to me, makes it valid and worthy of research. Has anyone been feeling this way, "anxious" or that something's been left undone? Curious.
Several times during this month I've actually been able to make out surface features of Mars because of good atmospheric conditions during certain early pre-dawn hours. This is normal. I especially enjoy looking at the canali which once held flowing water, not stagnant.
Well, the sun has crested the horizon and is fast moving upward in the far eastern skies, moving northward. It's an extremely bright sunrise yet I can still clearly make out Venus with just the naked eye! Brilliant. I'm going to watch for awhile.
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Back. It's 8 a.m. Venus is there but invisible now to the eye and impossible to make out even with my scope because of the atmosphere and sunrise. Yet the moon is high, and last I saw it was almost directly overhead.
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Would you like to discuss this full moon we're about to experience? It is now in Aries, and begins a few minutes before 4 PM EST today. Our "Harvest Moon". You remember how it got that moniker from farmers who were able to bring in the crops faster as they could work during the night, using Luna's light. I've mentioned some odd occurrences during this time, and we have very clear explanations for many. For instance, the higher fertility rate amongst all life during this time has a basis in science. The photic or light signals sent by the retina and lens of the eye are converted into hormonal signals by the pineal gland. This gland signals the onset of puberty in humans and plays a large part in the fertility rhythmns of all species. In animals which reproduce seasonally it is the changing light patterns which trigger the fertility cycle.
Of course the human animal reproduces monthly, and the one natural light source which has a monthly periodicy is, of course, the moon. (An interesting note for the ladies: The mentrual cycle is actually a shedding process as you know. Just as the average cycle is 28 days in length, the human body sheds a layer of skin approximately every 28 days. Fascinating!)
It's not safe or accurate to invest in "lunar myths" but best to follow your own personal experiences during such times, in my opinion. If the moon "draws" you, makes you feel introspective and unusually creative, if your moods vary for no organic reason, we can postulate how the onset of additional photic or light sources can and do effect all life forms. Basically, it's life or death since nothing can exist without photo synthesis. Now, of course, thanks to the incredible discoveries 25 years ago of Dr. Bob Ballard, who found hot water volcanic vents spewing bateriaat the bottom of sea (where no light got through, yet life florished) we know that besides photo(light) synthesis, life also exists through "chemosynthesis" or simple chemical changes of bacterial life from those hot water vents into food for the giant tube worms, albino blind fish, etc., living without light at the sea's floor. This discovery changed every science textbok in the world.
Back to Venus, though I don't see it now, this incredible planet will continue to be our morning star for several months and if you're up before dawn, have a peek. And some coffee.
Well - on with the day. Have a heavenly one!
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Basics courtesy of Mebb Tel, Sky & Tel, R&L, Gryphon, star charts