Astronomy Picture of the Day
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.
2016 May 1
Contemplating the Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Steven Gilbert
Explanation: Have you contemplated your home star recently? Featured here, a Sun partially eclipsed on the top left by the Moon is also seen eclipsed by earthlings contemplating the eclipse below. The spectacular menagerie of silhouettes was taken in 2012 from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area near Page, Arizona, USA, where park rangers and astronomers expounded on the unusual event to interested gatherers. Also faintly visible on the Sun’s disk, just to the lower right of the dark Moon’s disk, is a group of sunspots. Although a partial solar eclipse by the Moon is indeed a good chance to contemplate the Sun, a great chance — and one that is significantly more rare — will occur next week when the Sun undergoes a partial eclipse by the planet Mercury.
Where is the Milky Way on May evenings?
Tonight – and throughout the month of May – if you’re in a dark location, at northern temperate latitudes – you might be searching for one of the sky’s most spectacular sights, the starlit band of the Milky Way. You won’t find it in the early part of the night. That luminous band of stars arcing across the dome of sky is nowhere to be seen as evening falls in May. Where is the the Milky Way at nightfall this month?
For starters, remember that the disk of our Milky Way galaxy is flat, like a pancake. At northern temperate latitudes, as evening falls in the month of May, the plane of the pancake-shaped galactic disk pretty much coincides with the plane of your horizon.
Because the Milky Way rims the horizon in every direction at nightfall and early evening, we can’t see this roadway of stars until late at night.
The galactic disk most closely aligns with the horizon at about 30 degrees North latitude – the latitude of St. Augustine, Florida. Appreciably north of this latitude, the galactic disk tilts a bit upward of the northern horizon. Appreciably south of 30 degrees north latitude, the galactic disk tilts a bit above the southern horizon.
Even so, the Milky Way is pretty much out of sight in our Northern Hemisphere sky during the evening hours in May.
Like the sun, the stars rise in the east and set in the west. If you stay up until late night – near midnight in early May, a couple of hours earlier by June – you’ll begin to see the the stars of the Summer Triangle – Deneb, Vega, and Altair – rising above your eastern horizon.
In a dark country sky, the Milky Way’s band of stars becomes visible as well, for the Milky Way passes right through the Summer Triangle. Watch for it, if you’re up late this month.
Bottom line: The Milky Way’s softly-glowing band of luminescence hides behind the horizon at nightfall and early evening in the month of May. But if you stay up until around midnight, you’ll begin to see the starlit band of the Milky Way rising in the eastern sky.
Bruce McClure is the chief writer for the popular EarthSky Tonight pages. Since joining EarthSky in 2004, he has written thousands of astronomy articles, enjoyed here by millions. He also writes, gives planetarium shows and hosts a wide assortment of public astronomy programs in and around his home in upstate New York. If you ask an astronomy question on our site, it’s likely to be Bruce that answers it. His love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, and he has sailed the North Atlantic, earning his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. Bruce is also a sundial aficionado. He says his number one passion – besides his wife Alice – is stargazing.
Article published on EarthSky
The Wisdom of Buddha
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
Your Daily Influences
May 1, 2016
Six of Swords
The future looks brighter. Success will be known
Hagalaz is the hail Rune. It denotes chaos, destruction and disruption on a primal level. You may experience delays in moving toward your goals.
Aries the Ram
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is selfish, quick-tempered, impulsive, impatient, foolhardy and a bit of a daredevil. Be careful this person keeps your best interest at heart and not their own. This person is probably someone you already know. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in their impulsiveness.
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.
Your Daily Charm for Today
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is friendly, humanitarian, honest, loyal, original, inventive, independent and intellectual. If you can identify this person get close to them–they can be quite helpful.
Eleventh sign of the Zodiac, Jan 20th to Feb 19th. Ruling planet Uranus; correct metal lead. Those born under the influence of the Aquarius were supposed to be intelligent, of strong will power, restless, inventive, deep thinkers, artistic and cautious in money matters. The Aquarius gems are Garnet and Hyacinth. The Garnet, throughout India and Persia, was a favourite amulet against plague and poison, also worn to attract cheerfulness and good health. In the middle ages used as a charm to protect against all inflammatory disease and to ensure happiness. It was also supposed to warn its wearer of approaching peril and danger.
Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today
Sadly sometimes our desires lead us down paths which have no end and offer us no chance of achieving the results we want. If we persist we end up like Sisyphus: forever rolling a boulder uphill only to have it roll back downhill before we ever get to the top. Futility suggest the existence of just such a situation–we are chasing a prize that will never be ours. Futility indicates a need to rethink our ambitions and direct our energies towards a goal or goals that can be attained.
As a daily card, Futility implies that you are putting energy into goals that cannot be met. It suggest the need to rethink your desires and possibly find a new goal or goals to chase.
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
Your Crowley Thoth Tarot Card for Today
Like The Sun, The Universe brings good blessings. The Universe appears where all is in balance. It allows you to act effectively not only as an individual but as a member of a group too. The Universe promises contentment, fulfillment and completeness to those under its influence. It doesn’t guarantee there will not be moments of strife or discord in your life, but it does indicate that your trials and tribulations will be overcome; that ultimately you will know inner-peace and contentment. The Universe suggests you have found or will find your place in the scheme of things—that place where all is as it should be.