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.
2018 August 1
The Iris Nebula in a Field of Dust
Image Credit & Copyright: Franco Sgueglia & Francesco Sferlazza
Explanation: What blue flower grows in this field of dark interstellar dust? The Iris Nebula. The striking blue color of the Iris Nebula is created by light from the bright star SAO 19158 reflecting off of a dense patch of normally dark dust. Not only is the star itself mostly blue, but blue light from the star is preferentially reflected by the dust — the same affect that makes Earth’s sky blue. The brown tint of the pervasive dust comes partly from photoluminescence — dust converting ultraviolet radiation to red light. Cataloged as NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula is studied frequently because of the unusual prevalence there of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), complex molecules that are also released on Earth during the incomplete combustion of wood fires. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula spans about six light years. The Iris Nebula, pictured here, lies about 1300 light years distant and can be found with a small telescope toward the constellation of Cepheus.
Orion the Hunter returns before dawn
Around early August, if you’re up early and have an unobstructed view to the east, be sure to look in that direction in the hour before dawn. You might find a familiar figure – a constellation that always returns to the sky around this time of year. It’s the beautiful constellation Orion the Hunter – recently behind the sun as seen from our earthly vantage point – now ascending once more in the east before sunrise.
The Hunter appears each northern winter as a mighty constellation arcing across the south during the evening hours. Many people see it then, and notice it, because the pattern of Orion’s stars is so distinctive.
But, at the crack of dawn in late summer, you can spot Orion in the east. Thus Orion has been called the ghost of the shimmering summer dawn.
The Hunter rises on his side, with his three Belt stars – Mintaka, Alnitak and Alnilam – pointing straight up.
Also, notice the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus the Bull. It’s said to be the Bull’s fiery red eye. See the V-shaped pattern of stars around Aldebaran? This pattern represents the Bull’s face. In skylore, Orion is said to be holding up a great shield … fending off the charging Bull. Can you imagine this by looking at the chart at top? It’s easy to imagine when you look at the real sky before dawn at this time of year.
Bottom line: The return of Orion and Taurus to your predawn sky happens around late July or early August every year. In the Northern Hemisphere, Orion is sometimes called the ghost of the summer dawn.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.
Originally published on EarthSky
The Wisdom of Buddha
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
Your Daily Witches Rune
The Crossed Spears
Meaning: The presence of the spear signifies arguments, negative events, and all manner of strife of an upsetting nature. However similar to the ‘Tower’ tarot card if next to a positive rune it could mean the end of an argument or quarrel. If with the rings it means the healing or renewal of a relationship. If there are military connections it could mean promotion. If illness is within the equation it means a speedy and successful recovery.
Your Daily Rune for August 1, 2018
“Man-az” – Literally: “Mankind”
Esoteric: Humankind, awareness
Rune of the Divine structure of intelligence in the human soul or psyche. Rune of the horizons of human existence and collective potential.
Psi: mind & memory (Hugin & Munin), the difference between human and all other life, development of the intellect, rational mind, perfected intelligence
Energy: psychic order of the gods reflected in humankind, projection of Self into time
Mundane: thinking, planning, analysis, the human condition, people at large (contemporary: the masses)
Divinations: Divine structure, sustainability, intelligence, awareness, social order, divine influence in life; or depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion, collective suicide, bigotry, elitism, intellectual arrogance.
Realization of the divine structure in humankind
Increase in intelligence, memory and mental powers (passing tests)
Unlocking the third-eye hvel, the “mind’s eye”
Activating the dynamics of your own inner Christus, or Higher Self
Awareness of our roles as co-creator with the gods and nature
Mental and spiritual potential
Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today
Death is definitely not a card to shy away from. It does not foretell your impending doom. However it does suggest a period of change and the turbulence that often comes with it are on the horizon. We may not always welcome change, but invariably we must change to grow. Sometimes we have to shed some of the comfortability of who we are today to embrace the adventure of who we will be tomorrow. Death is the prophecy of such times.
As a daily card, Death tells you that changes need to be made in order for you to move smoothly along your life’s journey. When seen as a daily card, it is likely the changes indicated are on the order of “minor adjustments” in your day to day routine.
Your Erotic Tarot Card for the Day
August 1, 2018
The Judgment card represents a sexual awakening, and now that you aren’t afraid to move in a new direction, a whole new world awaits you. What sex positions do you want to try, and which fantasies have you been dying to act out? Being honest with yourself and potential partner(s) about the details of what you desire will help you get what you want faster, and the end result will be much more satisfying. And above all, enjoy your sexual liberation!
Daily Love Tarot
August 1, 2018
The Sun is an invitation to a supportive relationship in which you can be yourself around your significant other. You feel relaxed and loved, with a sense of peace of heart. You’ve struck gold and entered into a new realm. Keep looking if this is not how you feel because it is how things should be. You can’t expect improvement in a long-term union if you do not take effective steps to create it.
Your Monthly Influences for August
Ten of Swords Reversed
Evil will be defeated. Courage is needed to face challenges. Develop your spiritual self.
While Gemini always has its duality to keep under control, it does manage to bring both humor and intelligence into any situation.
Water reversed denotes secrets to which you are not privy. Approach all ventures with caution.
Your Crowley Thoth Tarot Card for Today
The Moon represents those forces which remain largely hidden to us. The light of the moon provides some illumination down a path into the unknown, but not enough to brighten the landscape like The Sun, or cut through the dark shadows from which the unexpected may leap. However, The Moon is not without gifts we can use. She spurs our imagination and creativity. She can be a portal to knowledge and experience beyond the realm of our everyday lives. But Her offerings are not available to the feint of heart. To receive what The Moon offers one must have the courage to follow uncharted paths and the intelligence to find truths hidden in a bewildering setting rife with illusion. For those who can make this journey the reward may be finding the key to making their dreams come true.