Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jupiter the Jovial Juggernaut

Astrologers have always, as far as I know, categorised Jupiter as signifying a benign rather than malignant influence. No doubt its huge size, when compared with sizes of the innermost planets, seemed to signify excess, generosity, exaggeration, and all manner of things springing therefrom, such as travel far & wide, and publication - sending out information to the masses. Image below shows comparison of Earth's size with Jupiter's.

Some regularity has been discerned in the distances between planets in our solar system. Bode's Law is a rule devised centuries ago by astronomers to demonstrate the regularity, it's a rough rule but an interesting one. If Mercury is 4 units of distance from the Sun, the Venus is 4+3, the Earth 4+6, Mars 4+12. Then there's a gap - Jupiter is 4+48, and Saturn more roughly 4+96. That huge gap between Mars and Jupiter, breaking a pattern, and leaving a gap where otherwise another planet might have been expected to form, is thought to have remained empty because Jupiter's gravity prevented another planet from forming in that area. Another theory is that several smaller planets were formed and they collided with one another; or that a single planet was formed but was then destroyed by Jupiter's greater gravitational field.

Bearing these theories in mind, it's odd that Jupiter hasn't gathered a rather more negative reputation in astrology. Astrologers were quick to attribute eccentricity and the unexpected to Uranus because of its eccentric orbit, so why not attribute something like ruthlessness, eradication, destruction to that juggernaut of a planet, Jupiter? I know there's no answer to that, but I thought I'd ask anyway.


Wisewebwoman said...

It's truly awesome, this mysterious planet.
Aside: if I ever get a male dog again, I'm going to call him Jupiter.

anthonynorth said...

I suppose Jupiter reminds us of the gentle giant. Isn't the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter?
An interesting post, that.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes! Good name - but especially for an Irish Wolfhound (I love 'em) the giants of doggie-world. :-)

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ Well, that's what astrologers think, it seems. :-)

I think astronomers suspect that the asteroid belt might be the remains of one or more planets which formed there between Mars and Jupe, and Jupiter's gravity destroyed them.

R J Adams said...

In his suite, "The Planets", Gustav Holst describes Jupiter as, "The Bringer of Jollity". Certainly, the opening tune is very robust, reminding one of fat, jolly, old man waddling about with a huge grin on his face (just my impression!). Of course, the central section was later used as the melody for the hymn, "I vow to thee, my country" - somewhat more sobering, though the piece manages to finish with a wonderful flourish.
Holst was certainly influenced by astrology, introduced to him by his close friend, Clifford Bax. Whether it impacted his composition of the "The Planets" is debatable. I'd prefer to think it didn't, but am probably in the minority - certainly, among readers of this blog! ;-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ Coincidentally, I originally had attached a
YouTube video featuring Holst's Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity but decided at the last minute to ditch it in favour of brevity. I doubt that Holst had astrology in mind, RJ. I'd guess that he concentrated on giving the piece a big, fat, robust feel, to match planet Jupiter's size, and the reputation in mythology of Jupiter, king of the gods', ruler of skis and of thunder. :-)

Just because some readers, and I, might think there's "something in" astrology generally, that doesn't mean we're lacking in ability to do a spot of critical thinking - Skeptics tend to disagree. ;-)
(Sticks tongue out at friendly skeptic).

Twilight said...

LOL type.....Jupiter ruler of skis - that's a new job for him!
I'm sure he's up to it! :-D