# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





31 articles for "Solar"

Solar Apex [Astro*Index]

The direction which our Sun (and our Solar System) is moving in relation to a galactic framework. It lies close to the star Vega, in the constellation Hercules, and is located at the approximate position: RA=18h, DEC=+30°.

See also:
♦ Galactic Coordinates ♦ Solar System
Solar Apex [Munkasey M.]

The apparent direction in space towards which our Solar System is moving. This is currently measured as being in the direction of about 2 Capricorn.

See also:
♦ Galactic Coordinates ♦ Solar System
Solar Arc [Astro*Index]

The angular distance between the Natal Sun and Secondary Progressed Sun. The value is used for a method of direction called Solar Arc Directions.

See also:
♦ Secondary Progressions ♦ Directions ♦ Angular Distance
Solar Arc [Munkasey M.]

(1) A method of predictive astrology which uses theangular measure between the natal Sun and the Secondary Progressed Sun as a measurement tool.

(2) The arc or angle between the natal Sun and the Seconary Progressed Sun.

See also:
♦ Secondary Progressions ♦ Directions ♦ Angular Distance
Solar Arc Direction [Astro*Index]

The Sun is first progressed as in a Secondary Progression, that is, one day after birth equates to one year. Then, the position of the Natal Sun is subtracted from it. This arc, called the Solar Arc, is then added onto the positions of all the bodies and sensitive points of the chart.

See also:
♦ Directions ♦ Secondary Progressions ♦ Naibod Directions ♦ Sensitive Points
Solar Arc Direction [Prima]

One of several methods of direction.

Developed by Valentine Naibod during the 16th cent. and popularized by the Victorian astrologer Sepharial, solar-arc directions are based on the Sun's daily movement along the ecliptic. However, in contrast with Naibod directions, which use the Sun's mean daily motion to determine the arc of direction, solar-arc directions are more commonly based today on the Sun's actual daily rate of travel.

As with secondary progressions, the symbolic "day-for-a-year" formula (in which one solar day re- presents one tropical year) is used to calculate the Sun's progressed position for the period in quest- ion, and the distance between the Sun's natal and progressed positions is then used as the arc of direction. However, unlike secondary progressions (where each planet progressed through the zodiac at its own rate of speed), solar-arc directions advance all planets forward at the same rate of speed, thus keeping their natal relationships intact. Since contact between the directed and natal planets is linked with the arc between the Sun's natal and progressed positions, solar-arc developments can be said to relate strongly to the evolving symbolism of the Sun, with its emphasis on individuality and self-esteem.

See also:
♦ Directions ♦ Secondary Progressions ♦ Naibod Directions ♦ Sensitive Points
Solar Chart [Astro*Index]

(or Cycle of the Sun)

A chart, usually computed for a native with an unknown birthtime, which places the ephemeris position of the Sun on the day of birth at the first house cusp, and obtains the other houses by adding 30°-increments, i.e. the Equal House System.

See also:
♦ Equal House System ♦ Ephemeris ♦ House Cusp
Solar Cycle [Astro*Index]

1. Cycles in the Sun's output of radiation, such as the 11.1-year sunspot cycle. These are linked to the Sun's magnetic field, and have been shown to influence living organisms. It has been suggested they are caused or triggered by planetary motion.

2. A 28-year period applicable to the Julian calendar, in which the first day of the year is restored to the same day of the week. As there are seven days in a week, and four years in an intercalary period, their product, 28, must include all possible combinations.

See also:
♦ Sunspot ♦ Julian Calendar
Solar Cycle [DeVore]

(or Cycle of the Sun)

A 28-year period applicable to the Julian calendar, in which the first day of the year is restored to the same day of the week. Since the days of the week are 7, and the number of years in an intercalary period are 4, their product (4 x 7 = 28) must include all possible combinations. At the end of each cycle, the Dominical letters return again in the same order on the same days of the month. v. Calendar.

See also:
♦ Calendar ♦ Julian Calendar
Solar Day [Astro*Index]

The mean apparent solar day of 24 civil hours.

See also:
♦ Apparent Solar Day ♦ Mean Solar Day
Solar Day [Munkasey M.]

The normally referred to 24 clock hour day. That daylength which is measured by the Sun's return to the same meridian on the Earth after one Earth's rotation in space. The Solar Day is: 3 Minutes and 56.55536 Seconds longer than a Sidereal Day.

See also:
♦ Apparent Solar Day ♦ Mean Solar Day
Solar Day [DeVore]

The time clasping between two consecutive passages of the Sun over a fixed point on the Earth. It is in excess of one complete revolution, by 1° of longitude or 4 minutes of time. v. Day.

See also:
♦ Day ♦ Apparent Solar Day ♦ Mean Solar Day
Solar Drift [Astro*Index]

The movement of the Sun toward the solar apex.

See also:
♦ Solar Apex
Solar Drift [Munkasey M.]

Another term for "Solar Apex".

See also:
♦ Solar Apex
Solar Eclipse [Astro*Index]

An eclipse of the Sun. Occurs at New Moon, when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. The eclipse may be either partial or total.

See also:
♦ Partial Solar Eclipse ♦ Total Solar Eclipse ♦ New Moon
Solar Eclipse [Munkasey M.]

An eclipse which occurs when the Moon passes in frontof the Sun blocking its light to Earth. During a solar Eclipse the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun.

See also:
♦ Partial Solar Eclipse ♦ Total Solar Eclipse ♦ New Moon
Solar Filaments [Astro*Index]

Long dark prominences seen in projection on the Sun's disk in monochromatic light.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Sun ♦ Solar Flare
Solar Flare [Astro*Index]

Brightest type of eruption on the Sun. A violent short-lived (for a few minutes or hours) increase in luminosity (up to ten times more than normal) of a local region of the Chromosphere, usually directly above a sunspot group, often accompanied by emission of ultra- violet and X-ray radiation. Solar flares can cause a disturbance of the Earth's Ionosphere, which in turn disrupts radio communication.

See also:
♦ Luminosity ♦ Chromosphere ♦ Sunspot ♦ Ionosphere
Solar House System [Astro*Index]

This House System places the Sun at the fourth house cusp, and the other cusps are taken at 30°-intervals from that point.


	  obl = +23.45°
	  LAT = +37.00°
	  ST  = 07:32:00 = 113.00°


See also:
♦ House System ♦ House Cusp
Solar Motion [Munkasey M.]

A term which is used similarly to the term: "SolarApex".

See also:
♦ Solar Drift ♦ Solar Apex
Solar Parallax [Astro*Index]

The angular size of the Earth's radius as measured from the Sun.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Sun
Solar Period [Astro*Index]

A body's solar year. The time it takes a planet to complete one orbit around the Sun in relation to the fixed stars.

See also:
♦ Fixed Stars
Solar Period [Munkasey M.]

The time it takes a body in its rotation to have theSun return to the same longitude degree.

See also:
♦ Fixed Stars
Solar Prominences [Astro*Index]

Jets or clouds of glowing red gas (mostly hydrogen) which rise all around the Sun's limb from the Chromosphere, a bright scarlet irregular ring of light (5 sec. to 15 sec. in depth) seen only during total solar eclipses.

See also:
♦ Limb ♦ Chromosphere ♦ Total Solar Eclipses
Solar Return [Astro*Index]

A chart computed for the date and time when the Transiting Sun returns to the exact longitude it held at the native's birth. When computed using the Sidereal Zodiac, the resulting chart is called a SSR (Sidereal Solar Return); when computed using the Tropical Zodiac, the chart is called a TSR (Tropical Solar Return). These two charts differ by 12 hours when when the native is about 36 years of age.

See also:
♦ Transit ♦ Sidereal Zodiac ♦ Tropical Zodiac ♦ Zodiacal Longitude
Solar Return Chart [Prima]

One of many techniques of time analysis. It is an annual chart cast for the exact moment of the Sun's return each year to the position it occupied at the time for which the radix chart was cast.

See also:
♦ Radix Chart ♦ Time
Solar Revolution [DeVore]

A horoscopical figure erected for the moment in any year when the Sun has reached the exact Longitude it occupies in the Radix. From this figure and from aspects of Radical planets to significators — Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Midheaven degrees — in the Solar Revolution map predictions are made cov- ering the ensuing year. For example, the Solar Revolution Moon conjunct radical Mars, indicates a year ominous of accidents — especially on the days on which the Sun or Moon conjoins Mars. Also it can be judged within itself, in which case, current Solar transits should be observed.

See also:
♦ Return ♦ Solar Return ♦ Progressive Solar Revolution
Solar System [Astro*Index]

The collective term for a Sun and the bodies associated with it, i.e., planets, moons, comets, etc.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Planets ♦ Planets, Classifications of ♦ Invariable Plane
Solar System [Munkasey M.]

The space around a Sun and the planets associated with it, if any.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Planets ♦ Planets, Classifications of ♦ Invariable Plane
Solar System [DeVore]

The cosmic influences by which a dweller on the Earth is conditioned (v. Cosmic Conditioning), and motivated, arc almost exclusively confined to forces present and manifest within the Solar System, which consists of the Sun, and the planets which revolve in orbits around the Sun chiefly in response to its gravitational pull. The Sun is the sole source of radiating energy that makes possible every form of life found on the Earth. This energy is received, both direct and by reflection from the planets and the Moon. Due, however, to the varying chemical constituency of the Sun's reflectors, each absorbs certain frequencies of the Solar emanations, and delivers to the Earth an altered spectrum. The Sun's energy raditaion is estimated in a continuous flow of 90,000 horsepower from each square year of its surface.

Around it are so far discovered ten planetary cycles, the bodies of which emit no light except that reflected from the sun. These, in order from the Sun outward, i.e: Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, the Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The astrological significance of the Asteroid has not received sufficient study to warrant any judgments in reference thereto, but it is generally presumed that they consist of the matter for what was intended to be another planet in the vacant orbit between Mars and Jupiter, but which was dispersed by the influence of the ponderous nearby planet Jupiter.

Astronomers and astrologers have speculated on the possible ex- istence of an intramercurial planet, so close to the Sun as to be lost in its rays and indistinguishable by any known method — but this is mere hypothesis. As three of the known planets have been discovered since i781, and Pluto as late as 1930, there is an everpresent possibility that additional outside planets may yet be discovered. In this connection it should not be forgotten that Pythagoras, on both astrological and mathematical evidence, contended some 2500 years ago that there must be 10 planets in the Solar atom. From Pythagorcus came the concept that Copernicus developed into his heliocentric theory, and that gave Einstein, no doubt, a Vision of the Creator as a mathematician rather than an engineer.

In occult teaching there are in our solar system ten schemes of evolution, each presided over by a planetary Logos. As the ancients knew of only the Sun, Moon and five planets, each system consisted of a chain of seven globes, and each chain had passed through seven incarnations. Their idea of ten schemes of evolution was a further prophetic indication of the three additional plants since discovered.

However, with the inclusion of the Earth and the orbit of the asteroids, we now recognize in the solar system twelve planetary cycles: the Sun, moving in an undetermined orbit around some remote galactic center; the 8 planets, the Earth and the asteroids, moving in 10 channels around the Sun; and the Moon moving in an orbit around the Earth.

Astronomically the Moon is too tiny an object for inclusion in such an enumeration. Besides, there are other moons revolving around other planets in our solar atom. Astrologically, however, our Moon, because of its nearness to us, assumes an importance that is disproportionate to its size, while the moons of other planets have no significance for us, other than as they enter into the composite ray reflected in our direction.

In this general picture of our solar system we find three distinct and known forces in evidence: energy radiations, orbital motion, and gravitation.

Considering the Sun, particularly, one must take cognizance of the fact that its influence as a source of energy radiation should bc entirely disassociated from the influence it exerts by way of gravitational pull and orbital motion. Experiment with the little ball on the end of a rubber string, and you will find that a horizontal motion of the hand will change the vertical motion of the ball into a circular motion that can become an orbit. While the Sun is exerting a pull upon the Earth, it is moving at right angles to the direction of its pull. If in response to the pull the Sun exerts upon the Earth at this particular moment we were to plunge precipitately in that direction, by the time we arrived the Sun would be gone. From the continuance of such a pursuit an elliptical orbit must necessarily result. However, both radiation and the gravitation from the Sun, considered alone, are constants. To introduce differences in different portions of the Earth's orbit, other and changing factors must be introduced.

As to the Sun's energy radiations, we have long recognized the differentiating effect of variously combined reflections from the planets, each of which by virtue of its chemical components absorbs certain bands of the spectrum and thus emits an altered ray. Hence aspects are the differentiating factor that alters the constant of the Sun's energy radiation.

To find the differentiating element in the constant of the Sun's gravitational influence, suppose we consider relationship between two known orbits: those of the Moon and the Earth, and the Earth around the Sun.

The constant of the Earth-Moon gravitation is altered by the Sun- Earth gravitation whereby at the lunation, the Sun and the Earth are pulling from opposite sides of the Moon, while at the Full Moon, both Sun and Earth are pulling in the same direction. Furthermore from the dichotome at the end of the First Quarter to that at the end of the Third the Moon's travel is faster than that of the Earth, its own motion added to that of the Earth, while in the other half of its orbit it is traveling slower than the Earth. Thus the dichotomes are the points where the Moon's orbit intersects that of the Earth.

Applying this to the Earth-Sun orbit, one sees that the direction of the Sun's travel, and at right angles thereto the source of the gravitational pull that governs the Sun's motion, are the missing factors necessary to an explanation of the changes of conditioning in the various arcs of the Earth's annual orbit, the so-called signs of the zodiac, the heliarcs into which the Ecliptic path is divided.

If we assume 0° Capricorn to be the direction of the Galactic Center, then the Aries-Libra cusps must represent the line of the Sun's travel. The fact is that the Galactic Center has to be 00 Capricorn, or astrology needs revision. Assuming this factor, let us see what we discover: The inclination of the North polar axis in the direction of the Galactic Center suddenly appears to have a plausible justification. Also it explains the coincidence of the Equinox (when the inclination is at right angles to the radius) and the points where the Earth crosses the Sun's path.

Tracing some of the conditions the Earth encounters in the course of one annual cycle, we see that when the Sun is at 0° Capricorn the Earth is actually at the opposite point 0° Cancer, hence at its greatest distance from G.C. From this point it moves toward and in the direction of G.C. accelerating to its maximum speed at the midway point, and slowing down to a dead center when the Sun reaches 0° Cancer, where it reverses its motion and for the next half year travels against the gravitational pull from G.C. This identifies four points at which a motion in a given direction comes to a dead center and reverses itself. From Aries 0° to Libra 0° the Earth would travel slower than the Sun-its orbital motion subtracted from that of the Sun; and faster than the Sun during the other half of the orbit. Also that with the Sun at Capricorn 0° the Earth is farthest from the Galactic center, hence the gravitational pull from the Sun and the G.C. operates in the same direction. After traveling half its orbit in the direction of the Galactic Center the Earth comes to the closest point where the gravitational pull from the two centers comes from opposite sides of the Earth.

In the motion from these points of reversal to the opposite points, there can be recognized a division into two periods: one of acceleration, and one of retardation. The motion from Capricorn o*, in reference to gravitation, reaches its maximum at the point where the motion against momentum reverses itself; also at a midway point in that quadrant the second motion balances the first-after which the first slows down to a full stop, and reverses its direction.

Thus there results a natural subdivision of the year in accordance with this formula:


Sun in:

GGravitationw - with, or     c - contra to attraction from Galactic Center
MMomentumw - with, or     c - contra to the Sun's orbital motion
at:1, minimum;    2, mean; or    3, maximum rate of speed.

From this it can be judged that the line of demarcation between any Mutable Sign and the Cardinal Sign which follows it, is a sharp and thinly drawn line; while those between a Cardinal and Fixed Sign, and between a Fixed and Mutable Sign, are a gradual merging or dissolving effect which culminates in a complete balancing of two forces in the middle of each Fixed Sign. Therefore one finds occasion for consideration of cuspal influences only in connection with the intermediate cusps, in which case the orb should be fairly large as much perhaps as five degrees on either side. This would mean that a person with the Sun in 25° Aries or in 5° Taurus, or any of the degrees between, would be spoken of as an Aries-Taurus cusp; and so on for all but the Cardinal cusps.

In addition, there is undoubtedly a third-dimensional motion above and below the plane of the Sun's travel. Latest astronomical opinion is that the 14° band in which the planets revolve is inclined by approximately 60° to a similar band in which the stars in the Milky Way galaxy revolve around the Galactic Center. This would appear to indicate that the locating of the Earth's nodes of intersection of the Sun's orbital plane are a third factor that is necessary to a true three-dimensional analysis of the conditioning one acquires by virtue of birth when the Earth is in some one of these twelve heliarcs of its annual travel.

There are thus (a) four arcs in which there is a reversal of motion and a new start in the opposite direction; viz: The four Initiating Cardinal or Leading signs: (b) four arcs wherein two motions strike a balance, the Executive or Fixed signs; and (c) four arcs wherein a motion is retarding to a dead center, preparing for a reversal of motion; the Deductive Common or Mutable signs. These three groups of four signs each are generally spoken of as the Quadruplicities or Qualities.

Another and quite different relationship exists between the arc in which a motion starts, that wherein it is balanced by another motion, and that wherein the overcoming motion slows to a dead stop. These four groups of three signs each, are spoken of as the four basic types: the Elements or the Triplicities. These are:

Inspirational type:Spirit– aspirational, imaginative.
Emotional type:Soul– intuitive, passionate.
Mental type:Mind– reasoning, intellectual.
Practical type:Body– matter-of-fact, materialistic but sensory.


Thus of each of the four types, there are three qualities-Initiating, Executive and Deductive, as follows:


Inspirational  Emotional    Mental  Practical  
Initiating1 Aries  4 Cancer  7 Libra10 Capricorn
Executive5 Leo  8 Scorpio11 Aquarius    2 Taurus
Deductive9 Sagittarius12 Pisces  3 Gemini  6 Virgo


Out of the cosmic conditioning inherent in these formulas, it is possible to deduce delineations of each of the twelve arcs, that to an amazing extent are in accord with the analyses that are the cumulative result of some 50 centuries of observation.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Planets ♦ Planets, Classifications of ♦ Invariable Plane
Solar System Bodies: Astronomical Considerations [DeVore]


To the Egyptians it was Ra, Amen, Aten, or Osiris, each with a different religious significance. The winged globe in Egyptian art is a familiar representation of the solar orb. Atenism, the first impersonal concept of the Deity, worshipped only "the power which came from the Sun," and forbade any emblem or idol that would tend to substitute a symbol for the thing itself. To The Persian it was Mithras; to the Hindu, Brahma; to the Chaldean, Bel; and to the Greek, Adonis and Apollo. In Free-masonry Sol-om-on, the name of the Sun in three languages, is an expression of light.

Actually the Sun has no visible motion, although we know it moves because nothing in the universe can hold its place by standing still. However, ancient astrology dealt with things as they appear rather than as they are; just as the wind which blows South was to the ancients the North wind because it came out of the North. Therefore, when astrology speaks of the Sun's motion we must not overlook the fact that what we actually mean is the Earth's motion which we measure by or describe in the terms of the apparent motion of the Sun. That the ancient masters knew this, can be seen in the order of the planetary hours: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus — the placing of the Sun between Mars and Venus clearly showing that it represents the Earth in this sequence.

The Nodes at which the Earth intercepts the plane of the Sun's equator, lie at heliocentric longitudes 75° and 255°, which the Earth crosses in Junc and December. The Sun's North Pole is inclined toward the Earth by 7° in July, and away from the Earth by 7° in January. The plane of the Sun's orbit is not known, but since the Milky Way galaxy is a flat disc of stars it is probable that the Sun's orbit does not deviate to any great extent from the average of the stars within the galaxy — similar to the orbits of the planets which lie within a narrow band that extends some 7° on either side of the Ecliptic.

We do know that the plane of our ecliptic is inclined to the plane of the Milky Way galaxy at a steep angle of approximately 50° hence the three-dimensional motion of the Earth with reference to the orbit of the Sun must involve a considerable degree of elevation and depression above and below the plane of the Sun's orbit; also that there must be a considerable declination of the Sun's pole with reference to its orbit, not unlike that of the Earth's pole to which we ascribe our seasonal variations. Because of this, the Nodes where the Earth intersects the Sun's equator are not the same as those at which the Earth intersects the plane of the Sun's orbit. It is not improbable that the latter nodes may pursue a precessional cycle not unlike that of the Moon's Nodes.

The Sun is a variable star, unlike any other star yet discovered. It revolves from East to West; i.e., looking down on its North pole, it moves counter-clockwise. Its period of rotation at the Equator is 24.65 d.; at the pole, 34 d. Its mean period as seen by the Earth is 25.38 d.; but its synodical period of rotation is 27.25 d.

The diameter of the Sun is 864,392 miles. Driving in an automobile at the rate of 500 miles a day, it would require 14 y, 10 m, 2 d, to circle the Sun.

Its weight in tons is 2,200 plus 24 ciphers, or 2.2 octillion tons. In bulk it could contain 1,300,000 Earths.

The Sun-Earth distance — 92,897,416 miles — is taken as a unit of measurement of inter-solar system space, and is known as one Astronomical Unit. Its light requires 498.59 seconds, or about 8 1/3 minutes, to reach the Earth. To travel the distance by an airplane at 300 miles per hour, would consume 35 years; to walk at 4 m.p.h., 6300 y.

Hugh Rice, astronomer of the Hayden Planetarium of New York, says, "The Sun is the source of almost all the power, heat and life on the Earth." Heat reaching the Earth amounts to 1.94 calories per minute, per square mile of the Earth's surface. One caloric is the amount of heat required to raise one gram of water by one degree of temperature.

In terms of power the Sun's radiation amounts to 1.51 h.p. per sq. yard of the Earth's surface, or 643,000 h.p. per sq. mile. Were it not for loss by curvature and reflection it would amount to 4,690,000 h.p. per sq. mile, or for the entire surface of the Earth, 127 Plus twelve ciphers, or 127 trillions of horsepower — more than we could possibly use. Actually our absorption amounts to from 0.34 to 0.38 h.p. per sq. yard, or the equivalent of a 60-watt lamp in continuous operation. When it is recalled that the Earth as seen from the Sun is a point in the sky apparently less than half as large as Venus when it is our brilliant evening star, and that this is the tiny object which intercepts a total of 230 million-million horsepower of solar radiation, it becomes evident that the Sun radiates an incomprehensible amount of energy. Indeed, we find that it radiates nearly 2,200,000,000 times as much energy as that which lights and warms and gives life to our planet, and hundreds of millions of times as much energy as is intercepted by all the planets, satellites, and planetoids combined.

Most of the Sun has a temperature of a million degrees. Its energy travels at the rate of 186,271 miles per second. The Sun's heat would melt a block of ice the size of the Earth in 16.6 minutes; a block of iron of the same size, in Less than 3 hours. Its heat for a year is equal to the burning of tons of coal amounting to 400 Plus 21 ciphers.

The Sun's Spectrum of visible light extends from 7700 Angstrom units on the red end, to 3600 Angstrom units on the violet end. An Angstrom unit is one ten-millionth of a millimeter. A millimeter is 1/25th of an inch. A wave of red light measures one 32-thousandths of an inch; of violet, one 64-thousandths. Hence the visible Spectrum consists of one octave, although 40 octaves are known to Scicncc.

The ultra-violet band extends from 3600 to 1000 Angstrom units. However, the ozone in the Earth's atmosphere cuts out all rays shorter than 2900 A.U. Tanning is nature's way of protecting the body against an excess of ultra-violet radiation.

The light of the Sun is 465,000 times brighter than the Full Moon; 900,000,000 times brighter than Venus at its brightest. In the Zenith this has been computed at 103,000 meter-candles. A meter-candle is the light received from a candle at a distance of a meter.

According to the latest astronomical computations the Sun's proper motion in orbit is approx. 200 miles per second; its apparent motion towards a point in the constellation Hercules is 12 miles per second.


A satellite of the Earth, which to different civilizations has also been known as Luna, Soma, Isis; the "mother of the Earth." It has given us the name for the first day of the week-Monday; also lunacy, lunatic, moonstruck.

The Moon, reflecting the light of the Sun, emits a degree of heat which can be registered by concentrating the rays on the bulb of a thermometer. It may have some slight vegetation, but because of the apparent absence of atmosphere or clouds it lacks sufficient water to support vegetation such as is on the Earth.

The period of the Moon's axial rotation is the same as its period of revolution, hence the same side of the Moon is always turned toward the Earth. That its orbit was formerly smaller and its velocity correspondingly greater is proved by comparing records of ancient eclipses to tables based on observation of its present motion.

The Moon's mean distance from the Earth is 238,840 miles, or 60 times the Earth's radius. It travels a trifle faster than its diameter per hour. Nor is it entirely the nearest body to the Earth, for in part of its orbit the minor planet Hermes (disc. in 1937) approaches to a distance of only 200,000 Miles. Traveling by airplane at 200 m.p.h. one would traverse the Earth-Moon distance in 5o days; but it would take a rocket ship speed of 7 m.p.s. to get beyond the Earth's gravitational field-at which rate we could arrive in 2 days.

Lifetimes have been devoted to the study of its incredibly complex motions. Among its various perturbations are the Equation of the Center, the retrogression of the Nodes, Evection, the anomalistic period, Lunar Variation, Annual Equation, and Secular Acceleration.

Galilee, in 1610, was the first selenographer to study the Moon through a telescope. In 1647 Hevelius published a chart of the Moon's surface that was not improved upon for a century. Its phases are familiar: The crescent of the new moon, and the reverse crescent of the fourth quarter of its circuit; the gibbous phase of the second and third quarters, when more than half of the moon is light; and the Earth-shine, when the Earth reflects a dim light upon the surface of the Moon during a few days before and after the Lunation.

Because of its faster motion near perigee we are able to see 7°45' around the Eastern and Western edges. This is termed its Libration in Longitude. Because of the inclination of the plane of the Moon's orbit to that of the Earth, we are able at times to see 6°41' beyond each of the poles. This is termed Libration in Latitude. There is also a Diurnal Libration of 1° on the Eastern limb of the Moon when rising, and on the Western when setting. The net combined result is that 41% of the Moon's surface is visible all the time, with another 18% that is visible part of the time, leaving 41%. that has never been seen from the Earth.

Meton discovered the recession of the Moon's node in 432 B.C. and reformed the calendar in accordance therewith. He determined that there were 235 synodic periods in 19 years, varying by i day according to the number of leap years contained in the period.

The node recesses 360° in 6793.5 days or 18 2/3 years, or roughly 1« years to a sign. The Draconitic period of the Moon's motion, that from node to node, is 27.2122 days. The moon rises 50 minutes later each night.

Harvest Moon.
At this season of the year the Moon's path more nearly parallels that of the Earth, hence it remains near to the horizon for several days, at the same hour. Similarly with the Hunter's Moon, which is the nearest Full Moon to September 23rd. This effect is further intensified when the descending node is at 0° Aries. For example, with the Ascending node at 0° Aries : 23° 27', Plus 5° 9', equals 28° 36'. With the Descending node at 0° Aries : 23° 27, minus 5° 9', equals 18° 18°'. The Full Moon rides low in Summer but high in Winter, thus making Winter the season of least sunlight but of most moonlight.

Moonlight contains streaks of bright rays, apparently from some special mineral that fails to absorb light, or which may have some such property as radioactivity — to conjecture on a point regarding which scientists fail to agree. The rays consist largely of shades of yellow and gray, and from certain areas a shade of green. The Earth's surface has a reflective power six times greater than that of the Moon.

The Lunar spectrum is much the same as that of the Sun, except that the light is yellower, and more diffused because of the rough- ness of the Moon's surface. At the quarter, the Moon's light has a brilliance of one-millionth that of the Sun; at the Full, 1/465 thou- sandths. However, the Moon absorbs 93% of the light it could reflect.

The Moon's aspects by Right Ascension differ some minutes from those by Geocentric Longitude. Tropical period minus Precession from 0° Aries : 6.9 seconds per period. The color white is often associated with the Moon to symbolize purity. That it is chemically white is due to the absence of all color. Prismatically it is the presence of all colors of the spectrum, or the three primary colors in the proportions of three parts of yellow, five of red, and eight of blue.


A small planet, with pale bluish light; the planet closest to the Sun. Never more than 28 degrees from the Sun, it is rarely visible to the naked eye. The Roman god Mercury and the Greek god Hercules, the winged messenger of the Gods, were endowed with the qualities that are associated with the influence of the planet Mercury. To the Chaldeans it was Nebo, the planet of warning; also associated with Buddha, the wise.

Ancient astrologers considered the existence of a planet nearer to the Sun than Mercury, to which they gave the name Vulcan. It has not as yet been discovered by astronomers.

From a stationary point about 28° in advance of the Sun, it retrogrades to an inferior conjunction with the Sun — after which it becomes a "morning star," visible on the Eastern horizon shortly before Sunrise. From a stationary point about 20° behind the Sun, it advances by direct motion to a superior conjunction with the Sun — after which it becomes an "evening star," visible on the Western horizon shortly after Sunset.

As with the Moon, and all satellites with reference to the planet around which they revolve, Mercury always turns the same face toward the Sun, except for a libration of 23° 7' in both directions: making a 47° zone of temperate conditions, and 132° zones of perpetual heat and cold.

As seen from the Earth, Mercury presents phases, similar to those of the Moon, because of which its visible size varies from 36' to 104' — its crescent or new moon phase occurs at its inferior conjunction; its full moon phase at its superior conjunction. Its minor elongation, about 18°, occurs 22 days before and after its inferior conjunction; its major elongation, about 28°, 36 days before and after its superior conjunction. At its maximum its visible size is 3¬ times its diameter. Two of Jupiter's moons are larger than the planet Mercury.

To locate Mercury in the evening sky, find in the ephemeris the dates of its major elongation before or after a superior conjunction, and for 10 and 5 days before and after. Transfer into hours its R.A. and declination on these five dates, and plot its course on a star map, making note its nearness to known bright stars. Tilt this map toward the celestial North pole, and assume a horizon about 23° below the Mercury position. If weather conditions permit it can be seen with the aid of a field glass — sometimes even with the naked eye. Mercury made a transit across the face of the Sun on May 11, 1937.


A brilliant planet reflecting a silvery-white light, it is the most brilliant object that illuminates the evening sky. The Greeks associated it with Aphrodite. To the Romans, it was known as Lucifer, when the Morning Star: and Vesper, when the Evening Star. To the Chaldeans it was Ishtar, and compared to the Sumerian virgin mother, the "Lady of Heaven," and the goddess of fertility.

Like Mercury, Venus exhibits phases, from a large twin crescent at the Inferior Conjunction, when it is closest to the Earth, and some- times visible in daylight if you know where to look for it, to a small round orb at the Superior Conjunction, when it is on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth. After the Superior Conjunction it is an Evening Star, and thus is visible in the evening, sky after sun- down, setting later each evening until it reaches its maximum elongation of about 47° — at which time it sets about 3 hours after the Sun.

Shortly thereafter it attains to its greatest brilliancy, then grows rapidly smaller as it again comes closer behind the Sun, until at its Inferior Conjunction it becomes invisible. Thereafter it reappears on the other side of the Sun and becomes again visible as the Morning Star. Its motion as a Morning Star, as measured from the Earth, is slower because of its greater distance from the Earth: 26 million miles at the Inferior Conjunction, as compared to 16o million miles at the Superior Conjunction.

Its rotation period has never been established because of the layer of clouds in which it is perpetually enveloped. Its period has been variously estimated at from 68 hours to 225 days. Its axis is inclined to its orbit plane at an angle of 5 degrees. Its low albedo, or reflecting power (.59), is due to this constant cloud covering. The periods when it is a Morning and Evening Star are of about 10 months' duration each.

Transits over the Sun are rare and occur only when the Sun is within 1° 45' of the node, with the Earth also at the node. Though infrequent, they come in pairs. The last such transits occurred in 1874 and 1882. It will not recur until June 8, 2004 and June 6, 2012. The duration of such a transit is about 8 hours.


The planet we inhabit. Astrologically, the Earth is the center of its universe, since one is concerned not with the position of the planets in reference to the Sun, but with the angle from which their reflected frequencies enter into the experience of those who dwell upon the Earth. When one speaks of the Sun's position he is but expressing the position of the Earth in its orbit in terms of the apparent position of the Sun. The Earth's orbit is an ellipse, of an eccentricity of about 1.60 — but which is slowly diminishing. Its longest diameter is its major axis. Its half length, or semi-axis, taken as the Mean distance from the Earth to Sun, amounts to about 92,900,000 miles. At perihelion the Earth is more than three million miles closer to the Sun than at aphelion; or about 3% of the maxi- mum distance. The velocity of the Earth in its orbit is approximately 18.5 miles per second.

The Precession of the Equinoctial Point amounts to 360 degrees in about 24,800 years. The Earth's rotation appears to be slowing down at a rate which if continued will amount to 1 second in about 120,000 years.

The common center around which the Earth and the Moon revolve has been computed to be about 3000 miles from the Earth's center — or 1000 miles below the crust of the Earth. That this point is a variable one has been used by some as a basis for a computation based on the assumption that as this point approaches the surface of the Earth there result phenomena known as Earthquakes.

The Earth curves from a straight line at the rate of about 1/9th of a degree per second. Its Diameter at the poles is 7900 m.; at the Equator, 7926 m. The inclination of its axis to the Ecliptic, 66° 33'.


The nearest planet to the Earth, and frequently visible, it may be recognized through the distinct reddish hue of its ray. Mars was known as Ares, the god of war; and as Nimrod, the god of the chase, whose mission it was apparently to dispel terror and fear. To the Greeks, it was Pyrois, the fire. The Romans celebrated the festival of Mars in March, before an altar in the Campus Martius. From it comes our word martial, war like — as martial music. To the Chaldeans it was Nergal, called the "raging king" and the "furious one"; to the Babylonians, the god of war and pestilence, said to preside over the nether-world. For the Alchemists, it represented Iron.

Mars has two satelites: Deimos, 6 miles in diameter, distant from Mars by 6.9 radii; and Phoetus, with a revolutionary period of 7h 39M. Deimos has a sidereal period of 30h 18m. Phoetus makes 1330 eclipses a year.


An orbit, approximately midway between those of Mars and Jupiter, occupied by a large number of planetoids or minor planets: variously explained as fragments of a major planet broken up in some prehistoric catastrophe; or particles drawn out of the Sun which failed to coalesce into a single planet. In all there are estimated to be some 50,000 of these Asteroids, of which 1380 had been identified in 1937. As many as 5000 are estimated to have been seen, and again lost. Many of them are more readily visible than Pluto, and may have some astrological significance not as yet identified. Their average diameter is less than 100 miles.

The Astronomischer Rechen-Institut at Dahlem, near Berlin, was world headquarters for Asteroid research, and up to World War 11 published a yearly ephemeris of the larger Asteroids for the periods when they are best observed.

Statistics of the five principal Asteroids are as follows:


(miles)(rel. to Sun)
Pallas 3048.00.071802
Juno 1208.70.121804


The next five, in the order of their discovery, are Hebe (1847), Iris (1847), Flora (1847), Metis (1848), Hygeia (1849).

The orbit of 944 Hidalgo has an eccentricity of 0.65 — more elongated than some comets. At its aphelion distance (9.6 units) it extends into Saturn's orbit.

That of 1177 Gounessia, has an eccentricity of 0.006399, more circular than that of Venus, the most circular among the major planets.

That of 846 Lipperta, is almost parallel with that of the Earth, with an inclination of 0°.244 — more nearly parallel than that of Uranus 0°.77.

That of 2 Pallas has an inclination of 34°.726 — double that of Pluto's 17°.1.

Three Asteroids come closer to the Earth than do any of the major planets. They are Amor, Apollo, and Adonis. 1936 CA or Adonis was discovered in 1936 by Delporte in Belgium. Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.78, an inclination to the Ecliptic of 1°.48, and a major axis of 1.969 units. On February 7, 1936, it approached to within 1,200,000 miles of the Earth, in the sign Leo. It had reached perihelion in December 1935, at a point slightly outside Mercury's orbit, at a distance of less than half an astrom. unit. Its diameter is less than « mile. At aphelion it will go almost to the Jupiter orbit. Its period is about 2 years.

Another asteroid was discovered in 1940 that had approached to within 110,000 miles beyond the Moon's orbit. v. Hermes.


The largest planet in the solar family: larger in fact than all other planets combined. Yet it is exceeded in brightness by Venus, because of her greater proximity to the Earth. To the Greeks, known as Zeus; also associated with Marduk, one of the gods of the Pantheon; known to the Hindus as Brahmanaspati.

Jupiter has 11 satellites. The first four were among the earliest discoveries of Galileo, and can be seen with the aid of a field glass. Statistics concerning the first five are as follows:


Io      1d.8 262,000     2,109
Europa      3d.6 1,865
Ganymede      7d.2 3,273
Callesta    16d.7 1,000,000     3,142
V    11h.57m.112,600     100est.


The dates of discovery are V, 1892; VI, 1904; VII, 1905; VIII, 1908; IX, 1914; X, 1938; XI, 1938. The orbits of the outer four are so far distant from the planet that their motion is affected by perturbations due to the Sun's attraction, to such an extent that they can hardly be said to have an orbit.

Nº IX has an orbital inclination in excess of 90°, to that of Jupiter's orbit. Nº VIII has an orbital eccentricity of 0.38, whereby its distance varies from 9 to 20 million miles.


The planet next smaller in magnitude to Jupiter, and next more remote from the Sun, is remarkable for its engirdling system of rings. It was the most remote planet known to the ancients. The surface of Saturn shows markings somewhat similar to those of Jupiter, but fainter. Spectroscopic observations have confirmed the theory that the rings are composed of a dense swarm of small solid bodies. of ten identified satellites of Saturn, the brightest is Titan. The ninth, Phobe, is fainter and more distant than any of the others. The tenth, Themis, lies between Titan and Hyperion. When the Alchemists and early Chemists used the name Saturn they referred to its association with the metal lead. Lead poisoning was once called the Saturnine colic.

Saturn was the ancient god of the seed sowing. His temple in Rome, founded in 497 B.C., was used as a state treasury. In 2I7 B.C. the worship of Saturn was conformed to that of its Greek counterpart, Cronus, son of Uranus, and god of Boundless Time and the Cycles. There was a myth that Saturn in Italy, as Cronus in Greece, had been king during an ancient golden age — hence was the founder of Italian civilization. Also associated with the Greek god Phoenon, "the cruel one," and the Assyrian god Ninib, patron of Agriculture, and one of the gods of the Pantheon. From it we have the English word Saturnian or Saturnine. The Saturnine colic was lead poisoning. Its atmosphere contains a high percentage of methane and ammonium gases, with no oxygen. For some unexplained reason it changes color from year to year. There are 25,824 Saturn days in one Saturn year.

The Saturn rings consist of an outermost ring, about 11,000 miles in width; a middle ring, about 18,000 miles in width; and an inside ring, the gauze or crepe ring, about 11,000 miles in width. Between it and the surface of the planet is a gap of about 5,000 miles. Separating outer and middle rings is the Cassini division, a dark strip some 2,300 miles in width.

Because the planet's equator is inclined about 28° to the plane of the ecliptic, the Saturn ring as seen from the Earth passes through phases: from Saturn's equinoctial point, where the rings are visible only as a thin — line, to Saturn's solstices, where they lie transverse to us in a wide expanse. The edgewise view occurs in longitudes 172° and 352°; the maximum elongation, in longitudes 82° and 262°. The edgewise view was had in 1921 and 1936; the full-faced view in 1929 and 1944. As this constitutes a 15-year cycle, it is possible that there are related variations and fluctuations in the resultant astrological influences, which further research will be able to reduce to usable distinctions.


Saturn's MoonsDisc.Distance
  1.Mimas1789    115      000.9    0.0190370     
  2.Enceladus1789    148      001.4    0.0046460     
  3.Tethys1684    183      001.9    0.0000750     
  4.Dione1684    234      002.7    0.0020900     
  5.Rhea1672    327      004.5    0.00091150     
  6.Titan1655    759      015.9    0.02893550     
  7.Hyperion1848    919      021.3    0.119   310     
  8.Iapetus1671    2,210      079.3    0.029   1100     
  9.Phoebe1898    8,044      550.4    0.1659160     
10.Themis1905    c.800     



Its discovery by Sir William Herschel on March 13, 1781, added a new factor to the problems of Astrology, and incidentally widened the horizon of observation of planetary influence upon human life. Inserting the planet into the existing horoscopes, revealed that Uranus had been the previously inexplicable cause of violent dislocations, fractures, separations, mental disturbances and deaths. With its discovery there came a new interpretation to the old phrase "by visitation of God." Herschel called it Georgium Sidus, but England continues to use the name Herschel — from which derives the symbol ( W ) although the rest of the world adopted the name Uranus by which Bode referred to it in 1783. Astrologers had long speculated upon its existence, referring to it as Ouranos. It is sometimes called "The cataclysmic planet."

The astronomers' symbol is one of the few cases in which astronomers and astrologers fall to employ the same symbols. As its Equator is inclined by 82° to the plane of its orbit, the regions of perpetual day and night reach to within 8° of the Equator.

Its satellites are:

NameDisc.  Sidereal periodMagnitudeDiam.
Ariel  18512d 12.489h             16560      
Umbriel  18514d   3.460h             16-17430      
Titania  17878d 16.941h             141000      
Oberon  178713d 11.118h             14900      



Until the discovery of Pluto in 1930, Neptune was supposed to be the outermost member of the solar system. It was discovered September 23, 1846 by Galle in Berlin, in the region suggested by Leverrier of Paris; but later was identified as the "star" observed in 1795 by Lalande of Paris. Agrippa dedicated a temple to Neptune in honor of the naval victory of Actium. To the Greeks, known as Poseidon. It is a greenish disc of the magnitude of 7.7, and is distant from Earth by 3o astrom. units. Its revolutionary period is 164y.

It has one known satellite, Triton, about the size of our Moon, and 220,000 miles distant from the planet. It has a magnitude of 13. Its period is 5d, 21h, its orbit inclined to the Neptune orbit by an angle of 40°; its motion retrograde, with a recession period of 58oy, or 140° direct. Inclination of Triton's orbit to Neptune's equator is 20°.

Neptune was in Virgo from 1435 to 1449; from 1600 to 1614; from 1761 to 1778; and most recently from 1921 to 1942. It was in Libra from 1450 to 1465; from 1615 to 1635; from 1779 to 1793; and 1943 to 1957.


The outermost planet of the solar system so far identified, was discovered in 1930. It lies 800 million miles beyond Neptune. The nearest conjunction of Neptune and Pluto occurred in 1892.. A previous exact conjunction occurred in prehistoric times, and will not recur for several thousand years, when they will remain close together for 100 years. As 3 Neptune revolutions take 494Y. and 2 of Pluto 496y, an approximate conjunction occurs every 492.328 years.

Pluto was discovered by Percival Lowell, who delayed publication of the news until his birthday, March 13, 1930 — the day on which Uranus had been discovered 140 years before.

The name Pluto, beginning with P.L., the initials of the discoverer was suggested by an eleven-year-old English girl. The size or volume of Pluto has not been ascertained, but its mass is less than that of the Earth. The extreme eccentricity of its orbit brings it at times nearer to the Sun than Neptune. There is no certainty that the orbits do not cross, in which event a collision is not impossible. Experience seems to increase the probability of the eventual discovery of other Trans-Neptune planets.

See also:
♦ Astronomy ♦ Planets ♦ Planets, Classifications of ♦ Invariable Plane
Solar Year [DeVore]

v. Year.

See also:
♦ Year ♦ Time ♦ Tropical Year ♦ Solar Period
Solar Wind [Astro*Index]

A steady stream of electrons, protons, and alpha particles "blowing" in a steady stream from the Sun out through the solar system at about 400 km/sec. through the solar system and out into space. The solar wind "sweeps" up all kinds of gases, particles, meteor fragments out of the solar system. It also pushes back cosmic rays during years of high solar activity. During periods of low solar activity, more cosmic rays reach the Earth.

See also:
♦ Sunspot ♦ Cosmic
Solar Wind [Munkasey M.]

A wind of hydrogen which blows outward from the Sun past the planets through Saturn. It acts like an aura of the Sun.

See also:
♦ Sunspot ♦ Cosmic


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine


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