Sunday, October 2, 2016


Every night about nine o'clock, Moonpi (our dog) and I step outside. For him it's an opportunity to do some sniffing around and do some other doggy business. And for me it is an opportunity to look up at the night sky. For the past few months I've been watching a small triangle of stars on the southwest part of the sky.

Of course, when I finally paid attention to what they probably were, it turns out that two of them were actually planets. Mars and Saturn. The other is one is actually a star, Antares. And over these months the path of Mars has been pretty dramatic. As the other stars (and Saturn) have generally been moving to the West, Mars has made steady progress to the East.

Which isn't really retrograde. Retrograde is when a planet moves in a direction opposite to it's usual direction, which is eastward, the opposite of the rest of the sky. Which makes their motion easier to see. The very word planet comes from a Greek phase which basically means “wanderer”.

But in reality the whole sky is actually in motion, it just takes too long, in human time scales, to see the motion of the rest of the sky. The Earth is spinning and rotating around the Sun. Which gives us our days and years. And we're used to these patterns. But the Earth is also wobbling, precession in technical words. The North Star we have today isn't the same one the Ancient Egyptians saw.

But when you know the rules, it isn't that hard to figure out what all this motion will do. The Maya left behind, well they created a bunch of books, of which only a very few survived the invasion by the Spanish (Conquistadors and Priests) . In the 4 or 5 well known codices (singular: codex), there is astronomical information. With a lot of it pertaining to the motion of planets.

What else the other codices might have contained will never be known. And today we still have those that fight against knowledge that disagrees with what they choose to believe. Sometimes they just devolve into conspiracy theorists. While other times they get themselves elected to office where they can do actual damage.

 Election Day is coming up. Vote for the Reality Based choices. Maybe it will make a difference.

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