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.
Wunjo denotes joy and shared bliss. It may also represent a job well done and the satisfaction one feels from completing such a task. Wunjo brings good fortune and harmony.
Now is the time for you to explore your inner self and those of others. Your intelligence and creativity are very well honed at the moment. Cooperation from and with others should be very easy to attain.
Fehu reversed represents material stagnation, possibly poverty as well as infertility.
Your Rune For Today
Raidho may mark the coming of a physical or spiritual journey. Whichever the case, changes in your life are soon to come. Spiritual or material goals may be attained.
Phonetic equivalent: r
DIVINATORY MEANINGS: journey, pilgrimage, change, destiny, quest, progress, life lessons
MAGICAL USES: protection for travellers, to ease or bring about change, to reconnect
ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES: the Norns, Sigurd’s journey
ANALYSIS: Raiðo represents the path of a person’s life and how it intersects and interacts with other paths. In Norse mythology, these paths are seen as threads of fate, and are regulated by the Norns. The Norns are three sisters who live near the first root of Yggdrasil, which they tend with the water from the well of Wyrd. They also spin the fates of Gods and men, which is important when understanding the mechanism of runic divination and magic.
The complex network of relationships formed by these threads of fate can be thought of as a web. Every chance encounter forms another connection in the web, and by tugging on one thread you affect everything else in the system. Most people do this completely unconsciously, but by becoming aware of the pattern of the threads surrounding you, it becomes possible to recognize and follow up on the kind of catalytic events that seemed to happen to us randomly back at fehu. In this way, we can find our way more easily along the path of our own journey, thus deriving the greatest benefit from its lessons. Otherwise we tend to get distracted and end up on detours and dead ends.
Raiðo reminds us that, although it may seem that we have accomplished our goals at ansuz, life and change continue and we must always go on. We will eventually end up where we began, but on a higher level and with a better perspective. The journey never really ends.
The Runic Journey
By Jennifer Smith
This reading represent elements that favor you.
The Emperor is gifted with the skills to successfully lead others. He can turn chaos into order, provide structure to that which is unbound. He is quick of mind and confident in his power and right to rule, and does so in a just manner. Although stern by nature, he truly is the ultimate father figure. He will provide as needed, teach those with unanswered questions, protect the vulnerable, set and maintain boundaries. His perfect world runs on schedule and is free of any disturbances. What the Emperor must be wary of is setting boundaries and rules where none are needed. If he isn’t he may well become a tyrant.
When The Hierophant or Justice are among your personal cards, the influence of The Emperor may be increased. Having The Empress in your personal cards may diminish the influence of The Emperor.
This card represents the dreamer in you, the idealist, the mystic. The Fool desires to do great things, but is often unaware of just how difficult great things are to do. He must always be very careful of the choices he makes, and remember knowledge is his ally. The Fool often symbolizes a new beginning, unrestrained optimism, and curiosity that hasn’t been dulled by time. While The Fool may well indicate a lack of experience or grasp of the pitfalls along the path he is taking, it is equally true that his lack of experience leads him to believe all things are possible, which brings even impossible goals within his grasp.
When The Hanged Man or The Star are among your personal cards, the influence of The Fool may be increased. Having The Devil in your personal cards may diminish the influence of The Fool.
The Tower is perfect card for the revolutionary or iconoclast or anyone who flourishes in rapidly changing environments. What The Tower brings to the mix is sudden, usually unexpected change. With that change there will be a period of disorder, and there may be loss. However, the loss is probably not yours, since you may well be the agent that created the change to begin with. Many positive things can occur from the change The Tower indicates: Truths will be laid bare, revelations and breakthroughs are not just possible but likely, and nothing spurs creativity like a good dose of chaos and confusion. In the end it is likely that what replaces what was lost in the fall of The Tower will be worth the loss.
Your vision is much broader than usual these days with Mercury in your sector of higher thinking, dear Aries. This can certainly bring a sense of more joy in your life. With Mercury in supportive aspect to Uranus in your sign, you’re in a great position to come up with exciting ideas and to communicate with extra panache. Today is strong for thinking outside the box, education, communications, travel, projects revolving around technology and new-thought topics, and for work and health matters. Surprise news can come and it’s likely to be pleasant or something that nudges you in a positive new direction. While you can have some great ideas today, you may need more time to finish a task, or you might need to draw upon more resources than you had first realized. Let your emotions and your need for action connect now, and feel the power.
Something that is communicated or news coming in today can help you let go of a past matter or move forward in a positive direction, dear Taurus. You are forward looking and can be inclined to want to share your feelings with someone you trust. It’s easier to see tricky or emotional topics a little more objectively today. Your intuition serves you quite well about financial matters, and to some degree about intimate relationships, but insecurities can be in the mix for the latter, so don’t form final conclusions about relationships for now. You could be feeling a little concerned about past actions and how they may be affecting your present, but aim to go forward with the faith that you can handle anything, and you’ll convince yourself and others that you’re moving forward.
You’re likely to see quite clearly what may have been tripping you up recently, dear Gemini, particularly in close relationships, and there can be real sense that you can move forward with an open conversation or with better communication. If you’re struggling with guilt and don’t quite know it, you may not be making the right the best decisions now. As such, listen to your ideas and intuition, but wait to act on it. Ideas that come to you now probably have quite a bit of merit. You may be sending out mixed signals now, however. Think about ways to unburden yourself in some significant way, as the freer you are, the more likely you’ll welcome positive new energy into your life.
You are bringing fresh ideas to your work and to your daily life today, dear Cancer. Decisions about work or health may not exactly be clear-cut now, but you’re seeing a way forward and have your eye on making improvements. You are especially interested in making progress now, and if you can find ways to keep things fresh and non-routine, you’ll enjoy a stronger feeling of freedom and optimism. You also have good intuition for money matters today, especially as you’re seeing finances as a means to feel freer. Open your mind to new ideas and methods for best results today.
This can be a strong day for advancing a project or coming up with progressive new ideas about your next step, dear Leo. You are anxious to move something forward, and you’re entertaining ideas or new methods to do so. To have fun or to take care of business – that is the question today, dear Leo! The Moon is in your sign all day, and it also harmonizes with Mercury, Uranus, and Venus, and this combination endears you to others and keeps you looking ahead. You have a stronger need to feel connected with others and for your emotions to be validated, and nice channels are available for you to express them again today.
You can swing between feeling utterly indecisive to acting upon impulse today, dear Virgo, but the best route now is to aim for moderation. Avoid taking on too many new projects, especially around the home, as you’re likely to feel their weight later. It’s a fine day for letting go of petty matters and for focusing instead on more spiritual or emotional issues. Allow yourself extra time for rest and don’t fret too much over deadlines or schedules. You are feeling just enough emotional detachment to enjoy yourself without too much self-consciousness. There can be inventive solutions to home-related matters.
This is a good day for finding inventive ways to advance your personal interests and projects, dear Libra, and you’re open to ideas from others. In fact, you can benefit from brainstorming. It’s easier than usual to breeze through topics and to socialize. You are in the mood for something different or unusual, finding it challenging doing the same old routine, and you may be pushing boundaries a little in your conversations as a result, perhaps in an effort to stir the pot in a small way and to keep things exciting. This can have interesting results if not taken to a point of discomfort.
You can be motivated to learn more in order to earn more, dear Scorpio, and you’re open to new ideas and methods. Information you uncover today can be helpful or a pleasant surprise. You could find that finances or work matters move forward, or you feel more optimistic about the direction in which they’re heading. Unexpected developments at or with work can figure strongly now, but are likely to be of the pleasant variety. Your intuition about health matters can also be strong now. While you may want to watch what’s communicated today as it may be taken the wrong way, resolve not to personally worry about what others are saying, as the tendency is similar – to misinterpret things. Follow your inner guide now.
You are likely to feel quite free and courageous about expressing yourself in unique and spirited ways today, dear Sagittarius, with Mercury in your sign in harmonious aspect to exciting Uranus in your creative sector. Your more unique qualities, particularly related to the mind, are emphasized and appreciated. Relations with a partner may be up and down today – you could feel you’re making progress and then there can be something that’s communicated that is taken the wrong way. Aim to face it rather than avoid sensitive issues.
There is a lot going on under the hood in your life these days, dear Capricorn, with the Sun, Mercury, and Saturn in your privacy sector. Today, Mercury harmonizes with Uranus, opening you up just a little and encouraging you to reach out, particularly to family or those you hold dear. It’s a generally good time to address problems or simply to work with people you love to make progress on a practical or psychological problem. Inner restlessness can sometimes lead us down the wrong path, but today, it may motivate you to make a positive change or to improve your life somehow. By the time the Sun connects in the same harmonious way with Uranus in one week’s time, the ideas you come up with now may be ready to put into motion.
You are magnetic today, particularly in your communications, dear Aquarius. Good ideas are flowing freely around you, and especially as you relate to and interact with friends and associates. There can be a wonderful feeling of being in sync with friends and/or a love interest. Even so, there can be part of you that’s holding back, perhaps having to do with trust, and this can stimulate some self-protectiveness even as you are friendly and reaching out. Give tricky issues time before taking anything to heart. Look for ways to move forward, open up the lines of communication, and to put dysfunctional elements behind you. Tune in to ideas or information that seems to embrace change and the future with optimism.
When it comes to business and money, dear Pisces, you’re finding it easier to identify the things that are working for you and the things that need to go or improve. Today, you’re in a good frame of mind to see where you can excel by taking a small risk or by entertaining the need to improve in order to progress. Information that comes in or ideas you generate pull you out of any thinking rut you may have been in. You are approaching money-making and general life path issues with a renewed spirit. One-on-one relations can be up and down today, as just when you feel forward movement, an insecurity or fear seems to set you back. Overall, however, you’re taking bigger steps forward than backwards, so you’re in a better position by the end of the day.