Team Dioscuri and Celestial Sports....

Mark Wagner

After watching the moon move the last few nights from above Orion's right shoulder to his left one, and the proximity of Mars to the moon in Gemini, I began playing with my planetarium program, watching their motions. Time skip is a wonderful toy!

I noticed there was a convergence of three culturally symbolic representations. Just fun stuff (no, this is not astrology). The moon, which symbolizes the feminine - rebirth and love, Mars as the god of war but also of fertility. Two opposites (love and war) and the common giving of life. The third was not so obvious and cannot not be seen (but *is* there) other than on a planetarium program when the moon is present - The gegenschein - the anti-solar point, with is dark penumbra and darker still umbra - which could represent the dark opposite of the brilliant (life giving) sun.

The planetarium program I am using (The Sky) shows all three essentially converging last night. I wonder how often that happens? But, it sure is easy to understand how our ancestors told stories about the sky as these personified (but real to them) characters moved overhead.

As such, last night I let my imagination see the moon as a celestial soccer ball. Go ahead and laugh. Last night Castor had the ball on his foot. Tonight, he kicks it up to Pollux - The Twins - mythologically, one living, one dead, and switching places "daily" (rebirth, fertility). What have The Twins done with Mars? That's where the planetarium program was its most fun.... Mars came into Gemini earlier this year, and recently was "throw back" - kicked backwards (from our point of view) like a Hackey Sack - into retrograde. Last night its retrograde path converged it with the moon and anti-solar point. Mars will continue in retrograde, and the moon will make its its familiar rounds. Mars will reach the horns of the bull, when it will be "headed" in the opposite direction. The nearly 1st quarter moon and Mars will again converge directly between The Twins (the opposites) in the western sky at about midnight on April 12, 2008, than 1/2 degree apart (but no anti-solar coincidence this time).

Nekked-eye sky and planetarium fun.... astronomy for when the moon is bright.

I suppose tomorrow morning, there will be lots of kids getting soccer balls and hackey sacks...


Observing Reports Observing Sites GSSP 2010, July 10 - 14
Frosty Acres Ranch
Adin, CA

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