Putting A Spin on Pluto
My good friend Isy pointed out in a recent comment that we should not think of Pluto as a simple lump of rock spinning through space, but as a group of objects with a great big hole in the middle. So I asked her to write about it. Understanding the astronomy of Pluto can help us to understand how the astrology really works. Here’s what she has to say.
There’s nothing in the Solar System quite like Pluto. But it’s not about whether a 12,500,000,000,000,000,000 kilo object matters at a distance of 4,300,000,000-7,500,000,000 km. It’s about the strange nexus of energy dominated by that body of rock.
It’s much more than a question of distance and weights, and relates to more than just the planet itself. Here are some facts.
- Pluto’s relationship with its largest moon, Charon, is so intense that their gazes are locked (in love, distrust, or both) and the center of their mutual orbit is not in either body, but in the space between them.
- The diameter of this binary system is roughly 5,836 km (almost half the Earth’s diameter of 12,740 km) and it’s spinning around its more than 18,000 km circumference every 6.3 Earth days.
That’s not just an orbit, that’s a vortex!
- Like Venus and Uranus, both Pluto and Charon rotate counterclockwise on their axes. Personally, I think this has something to do with why these planets’ energies can be so disruptive; in the case of the Plutonic dyad, that disruption can go very deep and wide.
- The tilted trajectory of Pluto’s Solar orbit echoes Persephone’s split life, sometimes above ground and sometimes beneath it. (I still haven’t heard a convincing reason why Charon wasn’t named for her.)
- Pluto and Charon don’t stand upright on their ecliptic, as most other planets do; they lie on their ecliptic at the angle of a lounge chair. This nearly-horizontal posture means that there are times when the spinning vortex of Plutonic energy is pointed towards us, right around the time that it’s moving through the solar ecliptic.
Does the nature of the Plutonic energy we get change with the angle of the vortex? Does each end of the vortex have a different type of energy signature?
I couldn’t find those answers, but I found enough hints that we can start putting things together. Here is a picture of the Plutonic system’s orbit within the solar system (left). (For 20 years of every Plutonic year, it’s inside the orbit of Neptune, represented by the blue line. Don’t let that throw you.)
The Plutonic system rose above the level of the solar ecliptic in 1927. Pluto’s South Pole first came into view in 1987 (which means that the equator was facing us in the 1980s!) and has been rotating towards us as the system continues on its orbit around the sun.
Each pole is fully exposed to us for about 90° of Pluto’s orbit, but exactly which 90° is hard to say because I can’t find a firm date on when either pole is pointing at us. Using online orreries that let me set a date and see where that puts things, I’ve created a thumbnail sketch (with very approximate dates) of when the vortex is pointing at us most directly:
This image (left) assumes that Pluto takes half of its orbital year to show us its north pole again, but that’s approximate. The Plutonic system’s speed varies depending on how close it is to the sun.
What would these energies be like when the North Pole is facing us from above the ecliptic, and when the South Pole is facing us below? How would they differ from each other? Do they differ from when the Plutonic equator is facing us, as it was in the 1980’s? Here’s what those ranges would look like, in time and space:
The last “Heads Up” period lasted from 1927 to about 1968. The last equatorial period was from the late 1970s through the 1980s. The next Tails Down period will be from about 2018 to 2057.
I also calculated the previous cycle of Heads Up (1679-1720) and Tails Down (1770-1809.) Between the perturbations in Pluto’s orbit, and the uncertainty of these numbers, I couldn’t go far in either direction without becoming wildly inaccurate.
As the inquiry expands, so will the data available to us. Someone here will be able to find those exact dates and get them to the rest of us.
Meanwhile … dig in. With Pluto and Uranus drumming on each others’ heads for the next few years, there’s no better time to revolutionize our understanding of Pluto.
NASA fact sheet: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/plutofact.html
Wikipedia on Pluto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto
… and on Charon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charon_%28moon%29
Homepage of NASA’s lead Pluto researcher: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~buie/pluto/pluto.html