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Beginners Astrology Tutorial
3. Planetary motion.

From the standpoint of one living on Earth, the Sun, Moon and planets appear to rise on the Eastern Horizon, ascend to the Midheaven, descend to the Western Horizon and then then next day reappear on the Eastern Horizon. The motion of the Sun, [Northern Hemisphere prospective] rising in the East, ascending to the Midheaven and setting in the West is mirrored by a clock's motion and has come to be called Clockwise motion. You may review this by looking at lesson 1 -time- as based on the Sun.
Review Time based on the Sun. Press browser 'back' button to return here.

This clockwise motion means each item in the sky will make a complete circle (orbit) 'around' the Earth each 24 hours. We say 'around' the Earth because each astronomical item appears to orbit the Earth even though in reality the planets, including Earth, are orbiting the Sun.

Moon Rise is later each day of the Month. (Shown at intervals)
If we observe the Moon, it will be noticed that each day the Moon rises almost an hour later than it rose the day before. If the stars are used as a background for measuring, the Moon and planets will be seen to have a slow counter-clockwise motion relative to the stars. This slow counter-clockwise motion is the forward motion of each planet through the zodiac. This is true also for the Sun but this is difficult too see because the Sun's rays are so bright we cannot see the sky near the Sun without special equipment.
Date of Sun's entry into each sign shown in counter-clockwise fashion.
The counter-clockwise movement of the Sun through the year can be seen by the diagram to the left.
Motion in the Zodiac as viewed from Earth using Mercury.
Mercury is shown at 4 points in its orbit.
Panel 1. From Earth Mercury is seen to advance in the Zodiac. Motion is Direct. Panel 2. Viewed from Earth, Mercury is stationary and turing Retrograde. Panel 3. Viewed from Earth, Mercury is Retrograde in motion
[going backwards].
Panel 4. Viewed From Earth, Mercury is stationary and turning Direct.
From the standpoint of the Sun, all planets move in orbits in the same direction. However due to the relative motion of the Earth to the other planets, when the sky is viewed from Earth it appears at times that planets will move forward in the zodiac, then change direction to move backwards (retrograde), then again change directions to move forward. This movement is only relative to the background of the stars (or zodiac) but a direct planet is portrayed on the stage of life somewhat differently than a retrograde planet.

What we have explained for Mercury, is true in principle for the outer planets in our solar system. Only with the outer planets it is the relatively rapid motion of the Earth about the Sun which causes the outer planet to appear to move back and forth in the zodiac while actually always moving forward in its orbit relative to the Sun.

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