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.