Starwalks: Saturn in the Balance
Spica and Mars are easily seen in the east around 7:30 PM by March 27. This beautiful brilliant pair is made more so as Mars, being in retrograde motion is brighter than usual. Think of retrograde motion as being on one train as it pulls out of the station while the train beside it stands still and appears to move backwards. Mars, being further out in the solar system is slower than Earth and currently the Earth, in its orbit is, passing Mars.
At four AM on March 27 the waning crescent of the old moon will rise beside the brilliant planet Venus in its Morning Star phase, repeating on April 26. The ancient Chaldeans wove these astronomical phenomena into their myth of Inanna and her visit to the underworld where at each ‘Moon Gate’ the goddess had to give up something. There are seven conjunctions before Venus disappears into the sun’s rays, emerging about six weeks later as the Evening Star. Inanna gets back what she has given up with each conjunction with the New Moon!
Saturn will also be visible in the East in the early evening sky among the stars of the Balance, the constellation that follows the Virgin. The full moon of April 15 will shine alongside Spica, with Mars slightly above it and Saturn following. On tax day, Saturn, who rules money and decides what is due, is in the stars of the Scales, and Moon, Mars with the Wheat Sheaf is a sly cosmic joke.
A current resident in Pie Town, Thea Marshall has lived in NM for 34 years, and enjoys writing, her horse, and the stars