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 31
Stars and Gas of the Running Chicken Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Andrew Campbell
Explanation: To some, it looks like a giant chicken running across the sky. To others, it looks like a gaseous nebula where star formation takes place. Cataloged as IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula spans about 100 light years and lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Centaur (Centaurus). The featured image, shown in scientifically assigned colors, was captured recently in an 11-hour exposure from a backyard near Melbourne, Australia. Two star clusters are visible: the Pearl Cluster seen on the far left, and Collinder 249 embedded in the nebula’s glowing gas. Although difficult to discern here, several dark molecular clouds with distinct shapes can be found inside the nebula.
Which moon phase best for stargazing?
We got this question:
Which phase of the moon would be best for stargazing, and why?
And the answer is … it depends on what you want to do. Some people enjoy watching the moon itself, as it waxes and wanes in our sky. Some enjoy the fact that the moon appears near bright stars and planets at certain times of the month. For instance, you can use the waning crescent moon tomorrow morning (June 1, 2016) to help guide you to the planet Uranus and the planet Mercury, as displayed on the sky chart below. However, you’ll need binoculars or a telescope to see Uranus from anywhere worldwide, and the Southern Hemisphere is now enjoying a fine morning apparition of Mercury (whereas the Northern Hemisphere is not).
The moon is now a waning crescent moon. Waning means the illuminated part is diminishing, whereas crescent means the moon is less than half-illuminated. The moon climbs over the eastern horizon in the wee hours before sunrise right now, meaning that most of the night is moon-free. New Moon will occur on June 5.
Moon-free nights enable astronomers to look at deep-sky objects, such as galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, so they like it when the moon is at or near new phase. It’s best to look at these faint fuzzies in a night sky with little or no light. The next new moon happens on June 16.
People using telescopes try to avoid the moon, because its glare interferes with the telescopic views of deep-sky objects. Especially around full moon, the moon casts a lot of light, washing out many nighttime treasures. At new moon, the moon is up during the day, not the nighttime. Around then, you won’t see the moon at all – unless you’re on just the right spot on Earth to watch a solar eclipse. But the last solar eclipse happened with the March 9 new moon, and the next solar eclipse won’t take place until September 1.
Bottom line: The best phase of the moon for stargazing depends on what you want to do. Some enjoy watching the moon itself. On the other hand, people using telescopes avoid the moon because its glare interferes with deep-sky objects.
The Wisdom of Buddha
An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
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 Daily Influences
May 31, 2016
Five of Swords Reversed
Victories may be empty. False pride must be avoided. Sorrow is possible.
Jera denotes positive, recurring cycles, fertility and a time to harvest rewards from your hard work.
The spirit of someone you knew dearly is trying to guide you in this aspect. In a dark room light a single candle and focus upon its light. Listen carefully with your heart and you will know what to do.
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 Estruscan talisman – a tusk carved in basalt, and elaborately mounted in gold filigree work – was worn as a protector from danger and evil influences. The charm was supposed to attract good fortune and success. The Tusk represented one of the horns of the Crescent Moon, which was a symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis, who, in the course of time, became the most universal nad powerful of all the goddesses. The Estrucans, Greeks and Romans had great faith in the reputed virtues of amulets, a belief which was greatly influenced by the Egyptians.
Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today
Solitude is represented by a single person standing at the end of a boardwalk staring out at a vast, empty panorama. They are truly alone, but may not feel loneliness. They are at a place in their life where the need to withdraw from the our secular world is strong, because their focus should be on their inner self, their morality, and their dreams. The view before them is empty, but it is a canvas on which they may paint their future–a future restricted only by the size of their imagination and courage. For them Solitude is a choice. They chose to take the walkway that distances them from the rest of us. It is also a choice that can be undone. Just as they chose to take a path that leads them away from us, they may choose to turn around and come back at anytime.
As a daily card, Solitude suggest a period in which you need to distance yourself from those around you and explore your inner-self, what is driving your day to day life and decide if you are really on the life path that is best for you. This is a time to revitalize your spirit, and draw your dreams for the future.
Your Personal Power Cards for the Week of May 30th
This reading represent strengths you were born with and will surface this week.
The Hermit denotes a need to have some space between you and everyday hustle and bustle of our busy world. The Hermit needs to retreat. Indeed, happiness for The Hermit requires seclusion, freedom from material wants, and time for intense introspection. The answers The Hermit needs cannot be found in our physical world. The truths he seeks are internal, spiritual, and the distraction of a well developed social life can only impede his quest for his personal truths. Still, although not anything remotely resembling extroversion, The Hermit does sometimes need to share time with others; so he can learn or teach, guide and be guided. The Hermit’s time spent amongst people depletes his energy quickly. To avoid an overload he has to retreat from social settings quickly.
When The High Priestess is among your personal cards, the influence of The Hermit may be increased. Having The World or The Lovers in your personal cards may diminish the influence of The Hermit.
The High Priestess
Completely feminine and the counterpart to The Magician, the High Priestess is the Gatekeeper of the subconscious, the unknown. She travels in worlds which most of us only glimpse in our dreams. Her realm is that of unseen truths, untapped potentials, and hidden dangers. The Calling of The High Priestess is to go beyond the obvious and visible to tap those powers which are veiled from normal vision. While she is passive by nature, she has the power to uncover unknown potential and is very aware of the infinite potential all humans harbor within them. She is also very patient. She can wait for events to blossom in their own time.
When The Hermit or Hanged Man are among your personal cards, the influence of The High Priestess may be increased. Having the Magus in your personal cards may diminish the influence of The High Priestess.