Astrophysical Directions by Michael Erlewine



In Astrophysical Directions
Introduction Coordinate Systems The Solar System The Solar Neighborhood The Galaxy Galactic Objects The Fixed Stars Star Clusters & Nebulae Non-Visual Astronomy External Galaxies Finder-Lists, etc.


  Wheel-of-Houses & Wheel-of-Signs

  360°/Decimal Tables

  How to Use the Main

Wheel-of-Houses & Wheel-of-Signs

Perhaps the most convenient approach to cosmic structure and the objects listed in this section involves use of your own natal chart. We will use the natal horoscope of Charles A. Jayne, Jr. (to whom this work is dedicated) throughout this introduction. You will of course be using your own natal chart and it may be helpful to establish a notebook in which to keep some of the information you will come across.

Wheel of Houses

Figure A. shows Jayne's chart drawn-out on the traditional WHEEL-OF-HOUSES format. This form of chart representation fixes the houses and holds them 'still', while allowing the signs of the zodiac to revolve. This is fine. However, our work here requires that we develop a real feel for the signs and directions in space as measured in the zodiac rather than for the houses. We require a different charting format for this purpose, one that will bring out the signs of the zodiac and the 360° of the zodiac plane. Such a format is the WHEEL-OF-SIGNS format as shown in Figure B. Here the signs are fixed and the angles and houses revolve. For instance, in this format the mid-heaven is not so much an "up" direction as it is a direction out in space -- a section of the zodiac.

Wheel of Houses

Since much of our introductory work into astrophysical directions in space requires the development of a 'feel' for different directions in space, you will have to draw out your natal chart on the Whee-of-Signs as we have the chart of Charles Jayne (Figure B) on a 360° chart form. Many of 'you will already be acquainted with this format, since it is the most convenient way to accent the various aspects and chart configurations in a natal chart. You will notice that when the planets are entered in such a chart (in the various sign and degree placements), that aspects drawn on these charts (with colored pencils and pens) represent the actual angles between the planets. This is because all 360° of the zodiac are evenly spaced in this format.

In the Wheel-of-Signs format, the angles (ascendant, descendent, etc.) are drawn on the rim of the chart and are NOT extended through the center of the form. Using this method, the angles are clear and yet do not obscure the various aspects and whole-chart patterns that we are attempting to bring out. The various house cusps can be marked-in along the chart rim, if needed.

Your first exercise will be to translate your natal chart from the Wheel-of-Houses format to the Wheel-of-Signs or 360° format. Many of you can let your computers do this for you.

If you will examine Figure B, you will notice another difference between this chart and that of the houses in Figure A. The planets are expressed in 360°-notation rather than in signs and degrees. Don't be put off by this, for it is a very useful convention. The Signs are fixed in the Wheel-of-Signs format (printed on the paper), so there is no danger of our losing sight of them and we have our Wheel-of-Houses chart nearby, if we need it.


360°/Decimal Notation

360° Notation = Absolute Longitude

The easiest method through which to translate positions from signs & degrees to 360° notation is through use of the above chart form. In this form both 360° notation and signs are presented. To use this 360° wheel, look up positions by sign and degree. Note what the equivalent value is in 360° notation. For example, what is the position of galactic center in 360° notation, if it has a value of 26° Sagitarius in zodiac or sign notation? Locate 26° Sagittarius on the above wheel and note nearest preceding whole-degree number. In this case: 260°.' In your mind, add 6° to 260° to get 266° = 260 Sagittarius.

360 Wheel

360° Notation or Absolute Longitude

360° chart forms are available from several sources. Translating natal positions from the sign-degree format to 360° notation (absolute longitude) is straightforward. Use the 360° chart form as a guide and look up each planet or sensitive point on this form. For example: Charles Jayne has his natal Sun at 15° Libra 42' (reads: fifteen degrees Libra, forty-two minutes). To translate this into 360° notation, we find the sign Libra printed on the 360° form and count from the beginning of that sign to the 15th degree. Marking this degree with our pen, we then draw in the symbol for the Sun. Instead of writing 15° Libra 42' next to the Sun symbol, we want to write the 360° equivalent. These are printed on the chart form itself in 10° increments. We can see that 10° Libra is 190 degrees, measured from 0° Aries.

We want the 15th degree of Libra rather than the 10th, so we add 5° to 190° (in our mind) and write in 195°42' on our chart-form, along side of the symbol for the Sun. We do this for the rest of the planets. The Angles are then marked in on the outer rim of this chart form (see Figure B) in colored pens. Most asrologers use BLUE for the Mid-Heaven/I.C. axis, RED for the Ascendant/Descendant, and GREEN for the Vertex/Anti-vertex axis.

Those of your who are planning research that involves mid-points, harmonics, and other techniques that lend themselves to pocket-calculator, use will want to draw out their natal positions with 360°/decimal notation, as these positions are ready to enter directly into the calculator display screen. Another useful aid is a listing of your natal positions in 360° notation as shown in Figure C. Further instructions in 360° notation and 360°/decimal notation follow:

The simplest and most useful first step is to Iook up the position of your natal Sun in the Finder Zodiac List and note what kind of objects intercept the zodiac at that degree. Before we do this, we will present the basic format we have used in this book for source listings.

ALL positions listed in the Main Catalog and in the various Finder-Lists are in DEGREES-MINUTES-SECONDS (D-M-S) and in 360° notation. All positions in the main catalog are listed in at least four different coordinate systems. At this point we are only interested in zodiac listings of longitude (?) and latitude ( ß). Turn to the Finder Zodiac List at the back of this book. This is a list of the objects presented in this text in their sequential order in the zodiac from 0° to 360° of longitude. We will look up the position of Charles Jayne's natal Sun in the Finder Zodiac List at 195°42'. Here is what we find:


Zodiac Longitude Zodiac Latitude Type List
194 53 30 -63 OC 061
195 58 14 -74 FC 484
196 16 11 00 CS 022


The Finder Zodiac List consists of four columns:

  1. Zodiac Longitude in 360°-Minutes-Seconds notation.
  2. Zodiac Latitude in Degrees only ('+'= North Latitude, '-'= South Latitude)
  3. Letter KEYCODE for object Type or Class.
  4. the Number of the particular object in the list of that object class.

For example: The first object in our selection from the Finder Zodiac List is at: 194°53'50" of Zodiac Longitude and -63° (South) Zodiac Latitude. The Type of object is 'OC' or Open Clusters and the number of this object in the list of open clusters is # 61. If we want to know more about OC 61, we will have to look up the section on Open Clusters in the Main Catalog and consult the 61st listing or object found there.


How to Use the Main

A break-down of the main catalog format is given below. We are interested in the longitude (? ) and Latitude (ß ) for the 61st object in the list of Open Clusters (there are 96 clusters listed). We can see that the longitude is 194°53'50" and the complete Latitude is -63°11'56" (both in the ecliptic or zodiac). What else can we determine about this object?

At the far right-hand tide of the page we find that the object is the 3114th in the NGC Catalog, an intermediate rich cluster located in the southern constellation Carina. If we consult the legend and the columns that contain additional information concerning these Open Clusters, we find that NGC 3114 consists of about 100 stars, covers 30' (minutes) of arc (on the equatorial projection) and is located at a distance of some 300 parsecs from the Sun/Earth center.

If we look up the other two objects in the Finder Zodiac List, we find that the object at 195°58'14" of longitude is the fixed star Theta Draco, a spectroscopic double in the constellation Draco, the dragon. The remaining object at 196°16'11" is perhaps the most significant of the three, for it represents a bit of cosmic structure. Charle's Jayne's Sun is conjunct the descending node of the supergalactic plane to our zodiac. This may be of more than passing interest to us, since Jayne has been one of the few pioneers who have insisted that we younger astrologers investigate cosmic structure, such as this Supergalactic plane!

Catalog Legend

The type or class of object represented is listed in this column as well as the NUMBER of the object IN OUR LIST. These NUMBERS are to be used to cross-reference with the Finder-Lists in this book and have no outside astronomical meaning in themselves. In most cases, however, they reflect the object's position in terms of increasing right ascension.

Name of Object
This column contains the most common designation used by astronomers. Thus 'CP 1919' refers to the pulsar at 19h l9m of right ascension in the Cambridge Catalog, or Cambridge Pulsar 1919. No attempt has been made to explain the origin of the various names used in this book and the reader is referred to the bibliography at the end of the Finder-Lists for more details.

Right Ascension & Declination
The next two columns represent the 1950.0 position of the object in equatorial coordinates. Thus 289 54 00 reads: 289°54'00" of right ascension, and +21 47 17 reads: 21°47'17" of north declination. ECLIPTIC or ZODIAC LONGITUDE & LATITUDE — These columns give the 1950.0 position of the object in the traditional Tropical zodiac or ecliptic. As you will note the positions are expressed in absolute longitude or 360° notation, rather than in SIGNS-DEGREES-MINUTES-SECONDS. This form of notation is presented in detail in User Instructions: Part One.

The position of CP 1919 therefore .at 295 48 57 reads: 295°48'57" of zodiac longitude (25° Capricorn 48'57") and +43 27 58 reads: 43°27'58" of zodiac latitude North.

Ecliptic Intersect (also called Right Longitude)
Is similar to the Midheaven for the right ascension value for the object. This value represents the point in the zodiac where the right ascension meridian intersects the zodiac. For more details see the User Instructions.

New Galactic Longitude & Latitude
These columns give the positions of the object in terms of New Galactic Coordinates, galactic longitude (lii) and latitude (bii). Thus 055 46 37 reads: 055°46'37" of galactic longitude and +03 30 04 reads 03°30'04" of galactic latitude north. See User Instructions for more details.

We can look up all of Jayne's planets, angles, and any other sensitive points we wish to investigate. You will want to do this with your own natal chart. Since this can be a very time consuming process, we suggest that you take notes or keep track of what you find interesting. It could take some time before you get used to using this material and also get a feeling for the kind of cosmic objects and the framework or structure in which they occur. Don't expect to get 'instant' interpretation. The interpretation or meaning of all of this will grow on you over time, in particular as you become aware of the whole basic structure of space. Let me sum up where you should be headed at this point in your study:

First of all, you should be browsing through the Main Catalog and beginning to read about the many kind of stellar objects as well as the network or structure where they can be found. Second, you should be able to lay out your own chart and any chart that interest you on the 360° wheel and begin to look up natal positions that interest you in the Finder Zodiac ListS. Give all of this some time and when you feel ready for some more input, then read the User Instructions: Part Two.




The general reader will benefit from a careful inspection of the User-Instructions: Part One. These instructions are designed to be used in conjunction with the reader's natal horoscope and will introduce the main features of this text in terms of the traditional planetary zodiac positions.

User-Instructions: Part Two contains more advanced considerations, explanations, and mathematics. It may be ignored by the beginning student.


Main Catalog

The main portion of this series consists of a catalog of astronomical objects and directions in space -- cosmic structure. Each class or type of object is defined and given a brief introduction, followed by a list of well-known specimens or examples. Each of the example objects are listed in at least four (and often five) coordinate systems of interest to astrologers: Right Ascension & Declination, Zodiac Longitude & Latitude (Tropical), Ecliptic Intersect or Right Longitude (M.C.), and New Galactic Longitude & Latitude.

Additional information is included for most categories such as: size, distance, luminosity, etc. The various kinds of objects are grouped by chapters according to the particular system or sub-system to which they belong. In general, the chapters or sections range from the near solar system structure to larger or more cosmic dimensions such as the galactic and supergalactic structure. The beginning student may well be content to use the traditional zodiac longitude and latitude listings and ignore (for the present) some of the alternative coordinate systems listed. A good number of helpful diagrams are interspersed throughout the text to aid in getting a picture of what the structure of the universe looks like.



A most useful feature for the beginning student are the several Finder-Lists that follow the main catalog listings. These Finder-Lists are master-lists of the objects in the main catalog arranged in terms of their increasing order along the zodiac, by right Ascension and by declination. For example: natal planet positions and other sensitive points in the horoscope can be looked up in the FINDER-LISTS to determine what well-known kinds of objects inhabit that particular degree of the zodiac.

Instructions for use of the Finder-Lists can be found in the User-Instructions: Part One and more detailed suggestions in Part Two. An additional feature included with the Finder-Lists are the 1200+ cities and places around the globe listed by geographic longitude and again by geographic latitude. These geographic lists can be used in conjunction with right Ascension and declination for many mundane and horary astrological considerations. Unless this material looks very familiar to you, the author suggest that the reader begin with User-Instructions: Part One.



© Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine


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