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YOUR TAX DOLLARS PRODUCE LIGHT SHOW

The most famous of all comets, Comet Halley is noted for producing spectacular displays when it passes near Earth on its 76-year trip around the sun. However, you don’t have to wait until 2061 to see a piece of the comet — you can do it this very week!

Halley’s Comet leaves bits of itself behind — in the form of small conglomerates of dust and ice called meteoroids — as it moves in its orbit, which the Earth approaches in early May and mid-October. When it does, it collides with these bits of ice and dust, producing a meteor shower as the particles ablate — or burn up — many miles above our heads. The May shower is called the Eta Aquarids, as the meteors appear to come from the constellation Aquarius. The October shower has meteors that appear to come from the well-known constellation of Orion the Hunter, hence the name: Orionids.

Orionids move very fast, at a speed of 147,300 miles per hour. At such an enormous speed, the meteors don’t last long, burning up very high in the atmosphere. Last year, the NASA allsky cameras at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and in Chickamauga, Ga., recorded 43 definite Orionid meteors. Most of these appeared at an altitude of 68 miles and completely burned up by the time they were 60 miles above the ground, seen in the graph at right.

Even though the peak isn’t until October 21, the shower is going on now. The NASA camera systems saw their first Orionid on Oct. 15. Unfortunately, the light from the nearly full moon will wash out the fainter meteors, so expect to see fewer than the 30-per-hour rate you might see under completely dark skies.

The good news is that watching Orionids is easy. Go out into a clear, dark sky after 11 p.m. at night — your local time — and lie on a sleeping bag or lawn chair. Look straight up. After a few minutes, your eyes will become dark-adapted, you’ll start to see meteors. Any of these that appear to come from Orion will be an Orionid, and therefore represent a piece of Halley’s Comet doing its death dive into our atmosphere.

Most folks would consider seeing one or two of these a fair exchange for an hour or so of time.

Thanks to your tax dollars at nasa.gov. The video is from 2009.

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MAD MEL’S GIRLFRIEND OKSANA

I don’t like her, Oksana Grigorieva, girlfriend, paramour, of Mel Gibson, who is currently bringing down Hollywood royalty. And there’s a reason. But is she mean or stupid?

Oksana is a Pisces, a sign known for it’s compassion. They’re dreamy and nostalgic, and the women are very feminine. Being ruled by Neptune, Pisces can see things through their own rose-colored glasses. As the highest sign in the zodiac, they’re wise. But wise in a way that most of us can’t comprehend, since it always has an element of a delicate balancing act with the facts.

She also has her moon in the charming, but more often than not, phony sign of Libra. Libra Moon people always say nice things even if they don’t mean them. But they won’t talk about you behind your back. Whatever they say, they stick with.

With her Venus in Pisces where it is exalted, she loves with all her heart. But as her album, BEAUTIFUL HEARTACHE, alludes to — it’s better for the people they love than it is for themselves.

So what’s not to like? When Mercury is the focal planet (two planets oppose and the focal planet squares both), you get cold, icy cold. It’s a detachment, a feeling you can’t get in. She evaluates things dispassionately and critically. The focal planet because of it’s extreme negativity can supersede good qualities. They’re in there, but they are not as obvious. When you see her, you see the calculated, analytical, perhaps, even defensive behavior. This apex planet drives one to learn a skill. Oksana is a songwriter and singer. She studied at The Royal Academy of Music. She’s educated and talented. Why don’t we know that?

Currently, Oksana has two inconjuncts — things that need to be balanced. One is her progressed Mercury (communications) to her Neptune. And that’s her other focal planet. So because she is a Pisces, she doesn’t see things clearly, because Neptune is a focal planet, she doesn’t see things clearly, and because PMercury is inconjunct Neptune, she doesn’t see things clearly. And progressed Mars is inconjunct her natal Moon, sometime around this time, because I don’t have her time of birth. Mars is violence and the Moon is feelings which vaguely translates into her pushing Mel’s buttons without knowing how to handle the ensuing publicity. Did she release the tapes of Mel’s rants? Someone probably talked her into doing it. She didn’t think it through.

I’m going with stupid. Coming up for her is progressed Venus (love) opposition progressed Jupiter (money). If she has a lawyer, she needs to listen to him, because her situation isn’t getting any better.

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