Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 November 30
Explanation: This huge swirling mass of stars, gas, and dust occurs near the center of a nearby spiral galaxy. Gorgeous spiral NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years distant, toward the constellation Leo. Spanning some 50,000 light-years, its central region is shown in this dramatic image, constructed from data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The close-up view highlights this galaxy’s characteristic multiple, patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust and clusters of young, blue stars. In contrast, many other spirals exhibit grand, sweeping arms. A relatively bright galaxy in planet Earth’s sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes, but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M65 and M66.
It’s up before dawn, a small fuzzy patch of light in binoculars. It’s still just below the limit for viewing with the unaided eye, but may improve.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 30, 2015: Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) will gradually become easier to spot this week, but still requires optical aid. Some observers are reporting that the comet is becoming visible in binoculars. If you have not seen Comet Catalina, the mornings ahead should provide a good opportunity to have a first glimpse at this celestial visitor. Current magnitude ranges between 6.5 and 6.1 (very close to the limit of viewing with the unaided eye), and may improve. Using binoculars, the comet will appear as a small fuzzy patch of light.
A small telescope may even show a hint of its tails. Yes, it’s showing two tails! Some recent pictures even show a faint third tail between the main two tails. Using a telescope, the tails may be seen very faint, and are a lot easier to see using a camera, as it captures more light and details than the human eye. During the next days Comet Catalina will ascend in the predawn sky and should become brighter and easier to see.
Most comets do show two tails, by the way: a dust tail and a plasma tail of ionized gas. These tails point away from the sun and are usually not related to the direction of travel. Instead, the tails are related to how the gases and dust react to solar heat.
Comet Catalina was closest to the sun on November 15, so it has been difficult to observe because of its nearness to the horizon just before sunrise. The hope is that the comet will brighten enough to become visible from the eye from a dark site, during the first days of December, as it moves higher in the eastern, predawn sky. Observations made recently show the comet’s brightness has remain steady, but a higher position in the sky will provide a better contrast. If it improves, Comet Catalina might be visible to the eye at a visual magnitude of 5 or 6, which means it would be within the limit for viewing with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It’ll be in the predawn sky, near the planets and moon in early December. Comets have been shown to be unpredictable, so it may become brighter or fainter. Sometimes comets even disintegrate. But this comet is well worth following! Follow the links below to learn more – and check back to this post periodically. We’ll provide updates.
To read more on dates and times to see the comet, please visit EarthSkyNews.
The Seven of Wands Reversed
Employ caution and courage in your ventures. Knowledge is your ally, arrogance your enemy.
There may be delays in reaching your goals. You may become disassociated from those around you. Try to keep your lines of communication open.
The Food Charm
Your health vibration is very high! You are energetic and feel you can accomplish anything. This aspect reflects positive vibrations due to diet. This will continue for a few weeks.
Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.
Ancestors represents the ongoing influence and remarkable contributions those who came before us have made to our state of being. Ancestors also reminds us that sometimes old wisdom is the best wisdom–especially when events are moving in ways we do not understand. Ancestors can bring comfort to a shaken spirit. It is a card of warmth in the sense that it reminds us that the spirit of past generations remains with us and can be called upon for guidance at any time.
As a daily card, Ancestors suggests that you may be well served to by exploring your family tree to find solutions to current dilemmas. When searching for solutions to conflicts in your life, you might do well by asking yourself what a grandparent or great grandparent would do in your current situation.
Meaning: In many cultures, the Star is a symbol of hope, dreams and destiny, and in the Witches Runes this symbol has a similar connotation. When the Star rune appears, it’s green light for you to go after what you want.
Note that the Star does not say you’ll get everything you want without any work. No. This symbol is a not about easy success, but about having faith in what you are doing – and doing it. In fact, the goals suggested by the Star are usually the highest and most significant ones – the ones that are hardest to get. It does not matter what the dream is, but its significance in your life. This symbol also represents ideals, and they can be both individual and collective ones.
In a more down-to-earth way, the Star is related to revolutions, changes, risks, speculation and all things motivated by faith and ideals. It can represent a sudden spark on inspiration, a windfall, a sudden rise to fame or a promotion. Though the sudden changes brought by the Star are usually positive, they are also fast: you can get back to point zero as quickly as you rose. So don’t be afraid to jump forward when the opportunity arises.
The Star urges you to take the risk, to have hope and to trust. After the staleness of Crossroads, the Universe finally begins to move again. If you believe in Higher Powers, this symbol shows that They are guiding you in this moment. The Star is a very positive rune, but in a more negative context it can represent revolution for revolution’s sake and the constant idealization of people and situations. It can also stand for excessive individualism when going after a dream.
In relationship readings, this rune represents hope and an idealistic kind of love. Usually the people involved in the relationship have high expectations about the other. They easily put their partner on a pedestal, only to feel frustrated when reality strikes. The Star can also represent unrequited love, or the love for someone who is unattainable. On the other hand, this rune tells you to not give up love entirely – keep looking, because someone is coming.
Additional Information About Today’s Witches Rune courtesy of Your Spiritual Journey Australia
Fortune represents that aspect of life that is directed by forces and events we may not understand or even be aware of. In short, Fortune deals with chance—those occurrences that manage to alter even the most structured of lives, usurp man’s “best laid plans.” While the effects of Fortune are unpredictable, the outcome is always change; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Our path through life is never a ride down a perfectly straight highway. Sometimes we may even experience hairpin turns or complete reversals of direction. Fortune is strong reminder that despite our plans, the Universe has its own agenda from which we cannot escape participation.