2017, September 25: Venus and Mars


Brilliant Morning Star Venus continues to dominate the morning sky, although it rises about 2 hours before sunrise.  Dimmer Mars is 6 degrees to the lower left of Venus.  In 10 days (October 15, 2017) Venus passes the Red Planet.  Venus is over 200 times brighter than Mars.  (Click the image to see Mars clearer.)

The stars of the “Sickle of Leo” appear above the planets.  These stars represent the head of the celestial lion.  In his Celestial Handbook, Robert Burnham describes the historical association of these stars:

“This configuration was in ancient China the Yellow Dragon though on some other oriental star-maps it appears as a horse or a Great Chariot of Heaven.  To modern sky-watchers the Sickle outlines the majestic head and mane of a great westward-facing lion, crouching in the regal repose of the enigmatic Egyptian Sphinx.  The origin of the zodiacal lion is somewhat obscure though the Greeks identified it as the famous Nemaen Lion who is said to have originated in the Moon, and whose quest by Hercules constituted one of the Twelve Labors (pp. 1057,1059).”

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