Apr 19, 2017

Apr 22, 2017: Lyrids, Vega, Crescent Moon

Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds by Gustave Moreau (Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After midnight and in the predawn hours of April 22 and 23, 2017 we shall have an opportunity (with clear enough skies) to view the annual Lyrid meteor shower thanks to a waning crescent Moon.

Good advice is available concerning How and When to View the Lyrids in 2017, plus, don't miss astronomer Brian Ventrudo's website Cosmic Pursuits where you'll find the Lyrids on his list of cosmic events for the month of April 2017 along with helpful night sky maps of stars and constellations.

Looking Up: April 22 and 23, 2017

The Lyrids are known as the oldest recorded meteor shower and when visible on a clear night in darkened conditions, they make for a spectacular experience of cosmic proportions. Constellation Lyra the Harp and its brightest star Vega have been called multiple names in various cultures through the centuries including: the Lyre of Orpheus by the Greeks, Vega the Harp Star by Pliny, and the Hero's Harp by Celts and Anglo-Saxons. Early Christians called it King David's Harp while in Arabia it was the Great Swooping Eagle - not to be confused with constellation Aquila the Great Flying Eagle. In India, Lyra was linked to the vulture and in some locations was known as the Swooping Vulture holding a lyre in its beak. So as you see, music is Vega's basic theme.

Plus, as a harp-carrying vulture, Lyra was the third of the Stymphalian Birds which links the star to the Labors of Hercules. With minor edits, here's something I posted a few years ago on Stars Over Washington before I created Jude Cowell Astrology on which to post about such topics:

The Stymphalian Birds (Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus the Swan) were known to be man-eaters, and Hercules was given the Labor of driving away an enormous flock of them from a lake deep in the woods near the town of Stymphalos. The goddess Athena appeared and gave Hercules a pair of bronze krotala, or castenets, to create a huge ruckus so that Hercules could shoot them with his arrows (or some say, a slingshot) as they flew away. These krotala were created by the immortal craftsman, Hephaestus...

So, as previously noted, our chance in 2017 for viewing the Lyrids, or 'falling stars' as they are popularly called (because that's what meteor showers can look like!), will be most likely in the predawn hours of Earth Day April 22 and perhaps extending to April 23 as well, storms or cloudiness notwithstanding. Radiating from the South near lovely Vega which will be helpfully bright in mid-Capricorn (Tropical Zodiac), the Lyrids will be favorably revealed by a crescent Moon in Pisces and are expected to display approximately 10 to 20 'stars' per hour from Comet C/1861 Thatcher's debris.

This comet last crossed Earth's orbit on April 20, 1861 and some could say it was a harbinger or at least a timer for the Civil War which began on April 12, 1861. I'm not saying it but some could if they chose...

Now for use in horoscope reading, here are a few astrological keywords concerning the pale sapphire star Vega (alpha Lyrae) which culminates at 16 Capricorn (aka, 'Wega'):

Nature: Venus-Mercury-Neptune-Jupiter-Saturn; Keywords and concepts: wealth via government dealings; good fortune in politics; art and/or music talent; fleeting fame; double-dealing; mother problems; beneficence; idealism; refinement; hopeful; changeable; adaptable. Negative potentials include: a grave manner; outward pretentiousness; usually lasciviousness. Through its link to Orpheus, Vega may also suggest potentials for: magic; divine spells; charisma; and/or an aura of other-worldliness when connected to a planet or planets in a natal or event chart.


Star lore and keywords primarily from Horary Astrology Plain and Simple, A. Louis; Encyclopedia of Astrology, N. deVore; and The Book of Fixed Stars, B. Brady--all of which books are highly recommended by yours truly.

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