by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, April 27, 2012

Earth: A Very Attractive Planet

Taken from Ehrenburg, Walberia, a 45-minute time exposure centered on Polaris (photo credit Udo Kugel - September 2001)

It just ticked me pink to see on of PSRD’s latest 'Cosmo Spark circular.

Link to: Cosmo Spark

Who the heck is PSRD – and what did I find so scintillatingly amusing?

PSRD stands for Planetary Science Research Discoveries, and the team which is behind all that PSRD-ing are a flock of planetary geoscientists at Hawaii’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
(Planetology? Like you’re going to tell a planet to open its mouth and say aaaaaah?)

In any case, they’re a pretty cool group. And every once in a while they sends out a missive. It could be on gas captured in ancient rocks (I know – you’re excited, right) to this week’s thriller, a Cosmo Sparks message on the subject of how popular our watery blue planet really is.

On a celestial basis, that is.

Evidently our lovable Planet Earth has fans. According to PSRD, “At any given time there are at least one or two meter-sized asteroids and about a thousand smaller centimeter-sized rocks also orbiting our planet.” PRSD calls them (oh, shades of Austin Powers!) “minimoons.”

Evidently not all such asteroid-Earth love affairs last all that long. Most of the time, after a brief and chaotic orbital fling (say, after two or three times around) most asteroids go their space-bound ways.

(No, we don’t know what they’re saying about Earth once the attraction cools off, but we can hope they proceed on in stony silence.)

A few find their attraction for Earth truly deadly, plunging to a fiery death in our resistance-laden atmosphere. We call those meteors.

And while all this goes on, our Luna Moon continues serenely on her way, securely captured by Earth’s gravity and eternally capable of tugging on Earth’s watery mantle. (Sounds like a lot of marriages I know.)

So why am I bringing all this up – apart from the fact I obviously got a big charge out of thinking of asteroids as planetary suitors?

Ah yes. Now we come to the interestingly astrological part. It seems that these asteroids take up this madcap courting of our planet at two very specific times of the year. And those two time periods happen to be a week or two after Earth’s perihelion and aphelion – what we the astrologically inclined tend to call the Summer and Winter Solstice.

This part where it happens after the solstice got me to thinking…after all, part of that solstice thing (or at least its affects) has to do with exactly where Earth is in its seriously complicated tilt-wobble-precession sort of process.

Believe me – it’s hard work being a planet.

We talk more or less often about precession. It’s a 25,920 year cycle which is about the fact that the imaginary ‘stick’ we think of as being stuck through Earth’s polar axis orbits clockwise as earth rotates in a counter-clockwise direction.

(At least that’s the way it looks if you’re looking down on the North Pole….so for you in New Zealand, Southern Africa and Australia, g’day and switch the terms around!)

 Planet Earth, showing it's Axial Tilt, the circle of precession
 its poles describe over 25,920 years and the difference
 between Earth's celestial equator (the thing we think of as an
 equator) and the plane of the ecliptic - the path Earth takes
 around the Sun each year. 
(diagram credit - Dennis Nilsson,, December 2007)

The tilt thing? Well, Earth’s tilt is pretty stable – between just over twenty-two and twenty-four and a half degrees off vertical. At the moment it seems to be at about 23.44 degrees off vertical and apparently people are still able to walk around without looking entirely cockeyed (or drunk) so all’s well.

And listen – it could be worse. Uranus rolls. That’s right…Uranus’ axis is at 90 degrees off vertical. And because of this, it presents one pole to the Sun for about 40 years then turns the other way. (No, don’t’ ask me which one its its planetary tush! I have no idea!)

The more science comes to know about Uranus, the odder Uranus really seems. Despite this pole-to-pole toasting it gets from the Sun, the “equatorial” regions of the planet still register as being warmest. No wonder astrology associates Uranus with the ‘non-status quo,’ the change, the discovery, the innovation, the breakthrough. As a planet, Uranus seems to break all the rules.

Isn’t it interesting how astrologers figure these things out in advance of science and yet the science backs the astrology up? Says a lot for research and testing points on a whole lot of charts!

Just to wrap up here before we get back to those asteroids…the wobble thing. Yes, Earth wobbles. Here’s a diagram made by the International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS)…a project overseen by the Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) (Yes, they skipped a few letters.) This is the group which keeps track of Earth’s orbit and the syncing of clocks, including the need to insert ‘leap seconds’ and such.

In any case, here’s their diagram of Earth’s polar motion from 2005 to the present.

 Polar motion from 2005 to present
(credit: hpiers/obspm, France)

So what’s all this got to do with asteroids which get the hots for Planet Earth?

It’s just all part of the celestial mechanics. Some of the above is a bit of karmic veggies I’m slipping in before we get to the astrological dessert, and all of it is good for us to know.

The part which got me to thinking was why do these asteroids hook up with Earth AFTER the solstices?
That the metaphysical sense that I'm thinking of it, has to do with precession. (And who am I to not share factoids I find so fascinating?)

That ‘circle of precession’ we talk about…which currently has Earth’s north pole ‘pointed’ at Polaris? That picture looks pretty much like this:

 Time diagram of Earth's north pole precession
 by  Tau'olunga (June 2006)

Polaris is the star at the very tail of Ursa Minor - the constellation known as the Little Bear. On this diagram, it's located just beside the marker for the year +2,000, meaning 2,000 CE.
There were pole stars before Polaris and there will be pole stars after Polaris. And that’s what PSDR’s Cosmo Spark sparked in me. The fact that Earth is attracting its latest batch of suitors after the solstices made me wonder if Earth is already sort of ‘over’ Polaris. Obviously on a scientific platform this wouldn’t be the case – Polaris is 434 light years from Earth. But metaphysically, this ‘disparity’ speaks to us.

Here’s a diagram of the ‘precessional circle’ Earth’s north pole would appear to ‘trace’ in the heavens.

The ‘dot’ in the center here is where the ‘axis’ of this (Earth’s) precessional circle would be. Positioned within what some might call a ‘protective’ circle of constellation Draco (which others might feel is our inner spirit ‘surrounded by Draco) 

Anyway…here’s a few astrological concepts to chew on while you’re not living such an apparently tilted life. (I guess Earth’s tilt is why we say we’re inclined to do this or that? Would we therefore be prone to doing things if on Uranus?)

Our current pole star – give or take exactness here – is Polaris. Astrologically, Polaris is the leader. The director. The one who points the way. Given how e metaphysical ‘north’ is always a reference to intellect (just as ‘south’ is metaphysically a reference to emotions or emotionality), Polaris thus becomes exactly what it says it is: the leader versus the director…the one who inspires and who is part of the effort, or the one who tells others what to do but who isn’t intrinsically ‘hands on.’

Is there a good or bad here? Maybe, maybe not. It’s probably all in how you handle your Polaris (so to speak). Currently positioned at 28 Gemini (conjunct Betelgeuse, a star all about aiming to have things ‘work well or easily’) there is great portent for good and great possibility for selfishness from anyone as they attain a position of leadership.

Of particular interest this year (2012) would be knowing that Thuban was Earth’s pole star between 3,000 and 2,700 BCE (give or take)…which would make it the pole star for the Egyptian and Mayan civilizations, among others. Very much linked to the constructive/destructive ideas of the dragon, Thuban is a symbol of value, worth and ‘the treasure.’

Back when Thuban was the pole star, it was in Gemini – just about where Polaris is today, though Betelgeuse and Polaris were then in Aries (at around 19 Aries or so).

It’s all rather curious, seeing as we have the Mayan ‘creation calendar’ drawing to a close this year with the Galactic Center now positioned at 27 Sagittarius, in direct oppositional alignment with where Thuban was then…and where Polaris (and Betelgeuse) are now.

Was the Galactic Center in Sagittarius back then? No. Back in the year 3,000 BCE our Milky Way’s center (and its resident Black Hole) was at 15 Libra, rather in opposition to…(yes!)…Betelgeuse and Polaris.

With Polaris having been in Aries back then, survival was the key and trying to make it through the day or year with a modicum of ease (Betelgeuse) was the rather simplistic optimal and learning (Thuban) was the treasure, the symbol of one’s value. Being someone of learning has lasted through the years since then as a guiding precept.

And maybe that’s what the Mayans (and the Egyptians, as others) wanted us to know – that learning and choosing to learn and to use what we know (thought, thoughtfulness)…that those Gemini precepts would be our ‘guiding light.’

With Polaris now our guiding light and in opposition to the Galactic Center we would appear to be polarized by the need to be ourselves and to learn enough…and yet to remember to contribute. That’s the requirement of the Galactic Center. The GC (as it’s known among astrologers) is always a point which describes where we have to give and wherever 27 Sagittarius (the position of the Galactic Center in 2012) falls in your chart, that’s where you will rise and probably also fall to your highest and lowest nature.

In a sense, that’s the price we pay for living in a time which combines the challenge of being with that of leading. For the Maya and the Egyptians and other great cultures of their day, the aspiration of learning (Thuban) was something other than the struggle to survive and to be a head of household or society.

Not so now. It’s just another sign that the Age of Aquarius – an age which stratifies, separates and distinguishes and requires that we treasure our differences asks that we join together in making things work.

 Aquariusurania as pictured in Urania's Mirror,
 a set of 32 constellation cards published by
 Samuel Leigh (London) in 1825

No, we don’t all have to like each other. But in the Aquarian Age we’re going to need to recognize that as different as we are and should be…how that doesn’t mean one person, one idea, one culture, one gender, one profession, one way of living is any better than any other. Those who don’t…well, like those Earth suitors which come along and end up going off on their own, we’ll be ‘deep spacing’ ourselves. That’s pretty cold.

Meanwhile, Earth goes on collecting it’s minimoons and leaving most behind. Our lovely blue planet remains in its monogamous relationship with Luna Moon while making friends along the way…just as many of Earth’s inhabitants do. For a minute there, I wondered whether Earth was just plain fickle.

Then I realized that when you’re a charismatic planet with a lot of magnetism and local space mass, you’re bound to pick up fans along the way!

Yup, I guess it’s all and learn, right?

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