Astronomy Picture of the Day – Sputnik Planum vs. Krun Macula

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 June 18

Sputnik Planum vs. Krun Macula
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute


Explanation: Pluto’s pitted plains meet rugged highlands in this stunning view. On the left lies a southeastern extent of the bright region still informally known as Sputnik Planum. At right the edge of a dark region, informally Krun Macula, rises some 2.5 kilometers above the icy plains. Along the boundary, connected clusters of large pits form deep valleys, some over 40 kilometers long with shadowy floors. Nitrogen ice is likely responsible for the more reflective plains. The dark red color of the highlands is thought to be from complex compounds called tholins, a product of ultraviolet light induced chemical reactions with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere. The enhanced color image includes portions of the highest and secondhighest resolution image data from the New Horizons July 2015 flyby of the distant world.

June solstice full moon in 2016

June solstice full moon in 2016

The last time a full moon fell on a solstice generally was in 2010 – the December solstice of December 21, 2010, when the full moon staged an exceedingly rare December solstice total lunar eclipse. There is amazingly accurate Gregoriana eclipse cycle of 372 years, featuring the recurrences of eclipses with the seasons, as defined by solstices and equinoxes.

We find a total lunar eclipse last happening on the December solstice 372 years ago, on December 21, 1638. Looking 372 years ahead of 2010, to the year 2382, we find a December solstice partial lunar eclipse on December 21, 2382. And 19 years after that, in 2401, there’s a December solstice total lunar eclipse on December 21, 2401.

Bottom line: Solstice and full moon both fall on June 20, 2016, for the first time since 1967, aka the Summer of Love.



Article originally published on EarthSky

Earth Sky News for Saturday, June 18th: Moon and Saturn

Moon and Saturn on June 18

Tonight – on June 18, 2016 – you might have difficulty seeing the planet Saturn in the glare of the brilliant waxing gibbous moon. If so, place your finger in front of the moon to spot nearby Saturn.

The red planet Mars will be much easier spot because it shines five times as brilliantly as Saturn, and moreover, lies farther from the moon on the sky’s dome.

The third object near tonight’s moon is the star Antares. Although Saturn is brighter than Antares, the star might be easier to spot than Saturn on June 18, because this star shines farther from the moon’s glare.

Of course, the moon isn’t literally closer to Saturn than to Mars on June 18. It’s only that the moon and Saturn are much closer to aligning on the same line of sight. Saturn lies nearly 18 times Mars’ distance from Earth right now. Considering all five bright planets at once – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – Saturn ranks as the farthest world we can easily see with the unaided eye.

And, if we include the star Antares in the mix, this supergiant red star lodges way, way outside the solar system at some 600light-years away. Mars and Saturn, in stark contrast, are our close neighbors, at only 4.4 and 75 light-minutes from Earth, respectively.

Want to know the distances of the planets from Earth and the sun right now? Click here.

Remember the number 9.5. And, presto, you have Saturn’s vital statistics at your fingertips:

Saturn’s diameter = 9.5 Earth diameters
Saturn’s distance = 9.5 times the Earth-sun distance
Saturn’s mass = 95 times Earth’s mass

Also, add 20 to 9.5 and you have Saturn’s orbital period: 29.5 Earth-years.

Bottom line: As darkness falls on June 18, 2016, you might – or might not – see the planet Saturn in the harsh glare of the waxing gibbous moon. If you can’t see it, place your finger in front of the moon to reduce its glare.



Your Daily Witches Rune for June 18th is Man

manToday’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 Celtic Ogham Symbol for Saturday, June 18th is Gort


G is Gort, the Ivy that sometimes grows freely, but often parasites upon other plants. It will grow in nearly any condition, and its endless upward spiral is representative of our soul’s search for self, as we wander between this world and the next. Gort, pronounced go-ert, is connected to growth and wildness, as well as confronting the mystical aspects of our own development and evolution. Also connected to the month of October and the Samhain sabbat, Ivy often lives on after its host plant has died — a reminder to us that life goes on, in the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.

In folklore from the British Isles, Ivy is believed to be a bringer of good fortune, particularly to women. Allowing it to creep up the walls of your home would protect inhabitants from baneful magic and curses. It also appears in love divination in parts of England – it was said that a girl carrying Ivy in her pockets would soon see the young man who was meant to be her husband. Medicinally, an Ivy tonic could be brewed to keep away diseases such as whooping cough and respiratory ailments — it was even believed to keep away the plague, but there’s no clear evidence that this worked.

Gort Correspondences

Mundane Aspects: Banish the negative things from your life, and eliminate toxic relationships. Place a barricade of some sort between you and the things or people that would bring you down.

Magical Aspects: Look inward to find self-growth, but turn outward to find spiritual companionship with like-minded individuals. If you’ve thought about joining or forming a group of some sort, consider it well if Gort appears.



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Shuffling the Cards for Everyone Else, What Does the Future Have In Store for You on June 19

Your Pyramid Reading for Sunday, June 19th



Tomorrow’s Theme

Two of Swords

Relationships are rife with tension. Indecisiveness may be a problem. The rhythm of life is well sensed, but without direction.










Tomorrow’s Challenge

The Fool Reversed

This is the card of folly, indiscretion and poor choices.











Tomorrow’s Ally

Virgo Reversed

Virgo reversed signifies a lack of honor and settling for the superficial.