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 29
Explanation: Mars will look good in Earth’s skies over the next few days — but not this good. To get a view this amazing, a spacecraft had to actually visit the red planet. Running across the image center, though, is one the largest canyons in the Solar System. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The featured mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s. Tomorrow, Mars and Earth will pass the closest in 11 years, resulting in the red planet being quite noticeable toward the southeast after sunset.
Best time to see Saturn is here!
Tonight – or any night in late May 2016 – watch for the ringed planet Saturn. It’s found near the brilliant planet Mars (which is closest to us on May 30 for the first time in two years) and the star Antares. It’s not just Mars that’s closest around now. Saturn also comes closest to Earth for the year on Friday, June 3 – only four days after Mars’ closest approach on Monday.
Both Mars and Saturn are coming up fairly early in the evening now. Mars has been awesome for weeks, and the best time to observe Saturn in all of 2016 is also upon us.
Earth will pass between Saturn and the sun on June 3, 2016. That is Saturn’s yearly opposition, and it marks the middle of the best time of year to see this planet.
After coming up in the eastern part of the sky in early evening, Saturn will continue to climb upward throughout the evening hours. This world will soar to its highest spot in the sky after the midnight hour. It’ll be low in the west at morning dawn.
As with all the planets, you’ll find Saturn along the same path that the sun and moon travel across the sky. Look generally eastward after nightfall. Try looking first for brilliant Mars in the east at nightfall or early evening, and then look for fainter Saturn and the star Antares below Mars.
Golden Saturn is fainter than Mars but brighter that the ruddy-colored Antares.
I know the focus has been on Mars in recent weeks. But start watching Saturn now! You’ll enjoy it and Mars for many weeks to come.
Saturn is the most distant world we can easily see with unaided eye. It shines as brightly as as a bright star. But it does not shine as brightly as evening’s two brightest planets, Mars and Jupiter.
As Earth moves around the sun, the Earth’s change of position will cause Mars, Saturn and Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion, to rise some four minutes earlier daily, or one-half hour earlier each week. Best of all, you can use Mars to locate Saturn for months to come. In fact, Mars and Saturn will stage their conjunction in the evening sky on August 25, 2016, whereby both worlds will fit within a single binocular field.
When the Earth finally passes in between Saturn and the sun on the night of June 2-3, Earth will come closest to Saturn for the year, and Saturn, in turn, will shine at its brilliant best for 2016.
So, in less a week from now, the planet Saturn will be at opposition (opposite the sun in Earth’s sky). Saturn will be out all night long at that juncture, rising in the east around sunset and setting in the west around sunrise. Note the beautiful contrast of color between golden Saturn, red Mars and ruddy Antares! It won’t be too much longer before Saturn stays out from dusk until dawn.
Bottom line: Earth will pass between the sun and Saturn on June 3, 2016. The best time of year to see the planet is here.
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.
Mars in Scorpio
Watch out! Fiery Mars is in scorching Scorpio
Things are slow and intense as action planet Mars moves retrograde into dark, mysterious Scorpio on May 27, 2016.
Mars is actually very much at home in Scorpio. According to traditional Astrology, Mars is the ruler, or key planet, of Scorpio (and Aries, too). It shares an affinity with this sign, so it can work very efficiently here.
Scorpio is about getting to the bottom of things so that they can be completely transformed, and warrior Mars is made to stimulate and provoke change.
There’s intensity and passion during this cycle — it’s quite a sexy transit, in fact. Mars and Scorpio share a strong relationship with sexuality that can raise like to lust and transform nice into naughty!
When Mars is in Scorpio, attitudes and actions become intense, powerful, willful and transforming. People can be aggressive, controlling and possessive, but they’re also capable of great endurance.
This tenaciousness is common with action-oriented Mars in this fixed sign. The positive to that is the ability to persevere and work through difficult challenges. In fact, it’s been said that Mars in Scorpio doesn’t like doing things the easy way. Resistance (to a degree) is just another obstacle to test Mars’ power here.
The downside is that fiery Mars in watery Scorpio can express energy as unrelenting aggressiveness or anger. This can be either overt or hidden, but it will prolong conflicts and be destructive to relationships.
The trick here is aiming carefully when selecting which walls you want to tear down. Taking on projects that require passion and intensity helps to direct Mars in Scorpio energy constructively.
Part of the Daily Insight Group
The Wisdom of Buddha
There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.
Your Daily Influences
May 29, 2016
The King of Wands
Passionate, a spry body and mind, honesty and friendliness.
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.
The Scarab is a symbol of creation. Someone close to you will soon announce the conception of new life, life that will positively affect you within this aspect.
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 Charm for Today
You are distracted from this aspect by other areas of your life you feel are more pressing. This aspect is suffering from this lack of attention. You must ask yourself how much more you can let it suffer before you give it due attention.
From remote times the terrors of the arts of fascination have been dreaded, and by wearing this charm, which contained a written invocation to their gods, it was believed that full protection was obtained. The Bulla was popular in Rome from a very early period. It was worn on a necklace, or upon the girdle. The Gorgons head, with hair of writhing snakes, was believed to terrify and drive away the power of the bewitched. Even today in many countries, the magic power of the evil eye is still believed in.
Today’s Witches Rune
Meaning: The Man rune demands action. It’s not longer time to quietly sit and think, or to hide yourself and heal. No, it’s time to get up and fight for what you want. If things are slow or stagnated, change them. Begin something new. It’s not a moment to let things flow as they will, but to grab the reigns and gain control over the situation. Be the leader and defend your stand.
While the Woman rune is about healing, this one can be about defending yourself, and, sometimes, hurting or getting hurt in the process. You may have to defend your opinions, your actions or choices against some aggressive people. This rune offers you a challenge, but is also shows that you have the resources needed to face it. Naturally, this rune has very aggressive potentials in it, and they need a good deal of discipline in order to not become sorely destructive.
The Man rune also accelerates everything… nothing stays still when its around. The outcome of your question may happen sooner than you expected, but the result will probably be unexpected. It does not mean that all will go wrong, no – things will simply develop in unseen ways.
In relationship readings, the Man rune promises a period of instability, so it’s important to not have high expectations. Under the influence of this rune, the relationship can be a stairway to Heaven or a ticket to Hell… and sometimes both, in a short period of time. It promises a bumpy journey for the heart, but with a great level of intensity. The Man rune can stand for love/hate relationship, cat and rat games and obsessions… the kind of things that turns one nuts (for good and for bad). This rune is good in questions concerning sexuality.
Additional information about Today’s Witches courtesy of Your Spiritual Journey Australia
Your Pyramid Reading for the Upcoming Week
This Week’s Theme
This card represents serendipity, creativity and the coming to life of psychic powers. It may also signify dangers yet seen, deception and bad luck for someone dear to you.
This Week’s Challenges
Ten Of Wands Reversed
Intrigue, separation and loss are possible.
Your Ally for the Week Ahead
With Scorpio come victory through a forceful inner drive. Scorpio also denotes a high level of sensuality.
Your Rune Reading for the Upcoming Week
The Past That Will Revisit You This Week
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.
The Present Circumstances That Will Present Themselves
Hagalaz is the hail Rune. It denotes chaos, destruction and disruption on a primal level. You may experience delays in moving toward your goals.
A Glimpse of the Future That Will Be Revealed
Dagaz represents the fresh light of a new day. You are close to making a breakthrough. You have the will to change whatever you deem necessary. You may see the world with absolute clarity at this time.