Pluto in closer detail, thanks to ‘New Horizons’

Hi there

You may have seen the fantastic photos of Pluto in the news. These have come from NASA’s long awaited New Horizons mission.The probe was launched over nine years ago on January 19th 2006 and travelled over 3.6 billion miles to fly past Pluto on 14th July 2015 and sending back some stunning images. This caused great excitement as the photos show huge ice mountains and no impact craters. Consequently, this suggests that Pluto has water and is young in terms of the universe, less then 100 million years. Further information from the data collection probes will continue to stream back to earth, it will take 16 months for it all to be downloaded and provide a much clearer picture of Pluto.


Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was classified as a planet, the furthest out in our solar system and the smallest. It is 3.67 billion miles from the sun and takes 248 years to orbit, so it hasn’t made a full orbit of the sun since its discovery 85 years ago.

There is a lot of controversy about Pluto, in August 2006 the International Astronomical Union down graded it from planet to dwarf planet – the only one. There is a lot of discussion as to how a planet is classified and the debate still goes on…

Pluto takes its name from the Greek god of the underworld which is highly appropriate astrologically as it indeed represents the underworld; that which is hidden, secret and taboo. It also is involved with death and rebirth, destroying the old and growing the new, therefore it is an uncomfortable energy but a vital one. It is a co ruler of Scorpio and Scorpios are known for being secretive and excellent at surviving whatever traumas life throws at them.

The New Horizons probe was launched at Cape Canaveral in Florida USA at 1400 hrs on January 19th 2006.

new horizons launch chart

This provides some interesting astrology, Gemini was rising ( ironically, the sign of short journeys and jokes, ha-ha!)  However, it is ruled by Mercury, the messenger of the gods, planet  of communication and information. This is in the sign of patient pragmatic and ambitious Capricorn along with Venus- values and resources and the Sun – creativity. Pluto the subject of this mission was in Sagittarius,sign of the explorer and traveller. Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius was in Scorpio ruled by Pluto (this is called mutual reception and indicates that the energies are working in harmony.) In this case the mission was to explore deeper and further than ever before; Pluto and Scorpio are excellent at delving and Jupiter expands.

There is  a T square; a tense configuration of three planets, two opposing each other both squaring a third. In this instance the two opposing planets are Mars in Taurus in the 12th house opposing Jupiter in Scorpio in the 6th square Neptune in Aquarius in the 9th. The signs are all fixed suggesting that determination and staying power is required for this project. The planets and houses involved suggest that a lot of energy and resources from an institution (Mars in Taurus in 12th) are invested in a vision to explore (Neptune in the 9th house) and expand our knowledge in a detailed and thorough way and to transform our understanding. (Jupiter in Scorpio in the 6th)

The Midheaven (highest point of the chart) was in Aquarius, sign of the new and exciting. Neptune planet of dreams, visions, inspiration confusion and mystery was again in Aquarius conjunct (next to) the Midheaven, so these two planets were  also in each other’s signs and working together. The symbolism ties in beautifully with New Horizons which is a groundbreaking and visionary science project. The planetary suggestions are that  it is likely to be successful; as vision and the desire to explore are supported by practical, hard working earthy planets; both the sun and moon are in earth signs working in harmony together.

The information came to earth in Maryland USA at 8.52pm EDT on 15th July.- over 4 hours after the fly past, quite impressive for all that way! This chart has Aquarius ascending so it is ruled by Uranus planet of invention and new technology in the 3rd house of communication. How appropriate is that?  When I compared the launch and information retrieval charts there were two obvious points of contact. Neptune in Pisces in the retrieval chart is conjunct Uranus in Pisces in the launch chart. This suggests the spreading of  new ideas.The other is the Sun of the launch chart in Capricorn is conjunct the ascendant of the retrieval chart. This suggests that it is the beginning of a phase of illuminating and sharing information and ideas. Saturn is in the 11th house of the retrieval  chart suggesting this will take time for goals to be completed and ideals to be made concrete. It will be very interesting to see how this all unfolds.



Venus conjunct Jupiter in Leo


Hi there

Weather permitting, tonight, 1st July is a great night for planet spotting; there is a beautiful display of Venus conjunct Jupiter in Leo clearly visible in the Western sky just after sunset. Venus is the brightest of the two planets (apart from the sun and moon it is the brightest natural object in our sky) and Jupiter is slightly above it.

Added to that there is a full moon in Capricorn rising just before sunset. (It reaches fullness at 3.21am BST Thursday) Let’s hope for a clear night! Last night, here in Norfolk, we were very fortunate and had a cloudless sky and a fantastic view. I’ve been watching Jupiter and Venus slowly draw closer together over the months; this is partly due to my regular trips up the lane to shut up my chickens at dusk; an ideal time to see planets.

Astrologically, Venus planet of love, beauty and affection is placed in the regal sign of Leo which is ruled by the sun. This suggests that it is a great time for socialising, enjoying ourselves and appreciating art and beauty. Jupiter is the king of planets, it is a gas giant and the largest planet in our solar system. Astrologically it expands and increases the qualities of any planet it aspects. Therefore the call to have fun is upon us; summer is the season for sunbathing (Venus and Jupiter are in Leo, ruled by the sun!) BBQs, festivals, holidays and  parties. However, Jupiter can get carried away so overindulgence could be a possibility, unless one exercises some caution.

There are indications that this cautious energy is available to us; over the next two days the moon is in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, planet of good sense and boundaries. Longer term Saturn is in Scorpio making a challenging square to the potentially over exuberant conjunction in Leo. Venus will be moving into careful, conscientious Virgo on 18th July so things may take a more serious note after that. Meanwhile, I’m going to have some fun and not too much ice-cream!







The sun has just moved into the sign of Gemini, a good time for me to start writing about astrology as Gemini is the sign of communication, ruled by Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

MercuryGemini is an air sign which loves to discuss and debate ideas. Geminis are often witty, restless and analytical, they like information for its own sake, it doesn’t have to be true.

At the moment Venus, Mercury and Jupiter are also in Gemini making it a great time for communication; appropriately exams are held annually at this time of year.

Jupiter spends approximately a year in each sign and it is about to leave Gemini and head into Cancer. Jupiter expands whatever it meets and whilst it has been in Gemini (since June 2012) cycling (a very Mercurial activity) has greatly increased in popularity and Britain’s cyclists were incredibly successful with Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins gaining medals in the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins also won the Tour de France.

_Bradley Wiggins Golden RideSo it’s good time to make the most of all this activity and if you don’t have to take any exams, get chatting, writing or cycling! If you are taking exams, use the clear, logical energy of Mercury to help you think things through carefully, but try not to fall into the Gemini trap of getting distracted.