A blue Martian sunset in a red sky, photographed by Mars Pathfinder (August 1997). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.
Are you sick of the world's turmoil? Take a fresh perspective and go off world. What does the night sky look from the surface of Mars? Are the constellations different? Does astrology change? Below, see more Martian sunsets and the view of one of the Martian moons, Phobos, from the surface of the Red Planet. The sky on Mars, like the soil or regolith, is orange. At sunset, the sky turns crimson. Sunrises and sunsets are blue. Wiki:
On Mars, the Earth appears as the 'morning star' and 'evening star,' just the way Venus appears to us before sunrise and sunset. Our planet is the second-brightest object in the Martian night sky. From Mars, you can also see the Terran moon:Around sunset and sunrise the Martian sky is pinkish-red in color, but in the vicinity of the setting sun or rising sun it is blue. This is the exact opposite of the situation on Earth. However, during the day the sky is a yellow-brown "butterscotch" color. On Mars, Rayleigh scattering is usually a very small effect. It is believed that the color of the sky is caused by the presence of 1% by volume of magnetite in the dust particles. Twilight lasts a long time after the Sun has set and before it rises, because of all the dust in Mars's atmosphere. At times, the Martian sky takes on a violet color, due to scattering of light by very small water ice particles in clouds.
An observer on Mars would be able to see the Moon orbiting around the Earth, and this would easily be visible to the naked eye. By contrast, observers on Earth cannot see any other planet's satellites with the naked eye.
The Martian sky at noon is yellow-brown, imaged by Mars Pathfinder (June 1999). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.
Martian sunset at Gusev Crater, photographed by Spirit rover (May 2005). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.
Photo of the larger Martian moon Phobos as seen in the planet's beautiful night sky, by Curiosity. Image Source: NASA via Reddit.
The larger Martian moon, Phobos, appears from the surface to be about one-third the size of the Terran full moon as viewed from Earth. Deimos, the smaller moon, looks more like a planet from the Martian surface. Wiki:
The maximum brightness of Phobos at "full moon" is about magnitude -9 or -10, while for Deimos it is about -5. By comparison, the full Moon as seen from Earth is considerably brighter at magnitude -12.7. Phobos is still bright enough to cast shadows; Deimos is only slightly brighter than Venus is from Earth.
"The brightest object in this image, taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, is the Martian moon Deimos. The asteroids Ceres and Vesta appear as short faint streaks in the upper half of the image, which marks the first time that asteroids have been photographed from the Martian surface." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M via Space.com.
The same image as the one above, but with labels: "NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has caught the first image of asteroids taken from the surface of Mars on April 20, 2014. The image includes two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta. This version includes Mars’ moon Deimos in a circular, exposure-adjusted inset and square insets at left from other observations the same night." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M via Universe Today.
On 20 April 2014, Curiosity took the first astronomical photographs of asteroids from another planet. Here are Ceres and Vesta, viewed from the Kimberley Waypoint, which is named after the northern tip of Western Australia.
Kimberley Waypoint. Image Source: NASA via Space.com.
31 January 2014: Martian horizon at twilight with Earth in the sky. On Mars, Earth is the 'evening star.' Image Source: NASA via Space.com.
The same perspective as the one above, from 31 January 2014, with annotation: "This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon, taken by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, includes Earth [and her moon] as the brightest point of light in the night sky." Image Source: NASA / JPL / CALTECH via One News Page.
The precession of the equinoxes - the planetary view of constellations which comprise the zodiac - is the same on Mars as it is on Earth, but the solstices and equinoxes fall into different astrological signs. Wiki:
The zodiac constellations of Mars's ecliptic are almost the same as those of Earth — after all, the two ecliptic planes only have a mutual inclination of 1.85° — but on Mars, the Sun spends 6 days in the constellation Cetus, leaving and re-entering Pisces as it does so. The equinoxes and solstices are different as well: for the northern hemisphere, vernal equinox is in Ophiuchus, summer solstice is at the border of Aquarius and Pisces, autumnal equinox is in Taurus, and winter solstice is in Virgo. As on Earth, precession will cause the solstices and equinoxes to cycle through the zodiac constellations over thousands and tens of thousands of years.
Image Source: Christopher Crockett.
Precession refers to the tilting axis of the rotating earth. The precession of the equinoxes describes how that tilt and rotation affect our perception of the heavens. The Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, discovered the precession of the equinoxes in the 2nd century BCE. But it was known to ancient Egyptian and Vedic astrologers as well. The idea was to understand the heavens by regarding them over long periods repeatedly at a fixed point in time (the spring equinox). Why the equinox? From the Terran point of view, this is the moment when the plane of the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. University of British Columbia:
In astronomy, the ecliptic is [the] apparent great-circle annual path of the sun in the celestial sphere (the projection of objects in space into their apparent positions in the sky as viewed from the Earth) ... . The plane of the path, called the plane of the ecliptic, intersects the celestial equator (the projection of the earth's equator on the celestial sphere) at an angle of about 23.5º. This angle is known as the obliquity of the ecliptic and is approximately constant over a period of millions of years.
The two points at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator are called nodes, or equinoxes. The sun is at the vernal equinox about March 21st and at the autumnal equinox about September 23rd.
The equinoxes do not occur at the same points of the ecliptic every year, for the plane of the ecliptic and the plane of the equator revolve in opposite directions, respectively. The two planes make a complete revolution with respect to each other once every 25,868 years. This movement of the equinoxes along the ecliptic is called the precession of the equinoxes.
Example of view of Aquarius at sunrise on the vernal equinox from the point of view of the Earth. Image Source: Revealer.
The precession viewed from Earth. Image Source: Aeon Group.
A religious view of the astrological ages combines biblical stories, symbols and astronomy. Image Source: Heartcom.
The fact that the Martian equinoxes fall in different signs means that the characterization of ages as the planetary view moves backwards through the zodiac is different on Mars. It is just a question of relative views, but on Earth, this is no light matter. The precession of the planet creates a view from Earth of the fixed stars at every vernal equinox which determines the planet's whole symbolic standpoint; our Terran view of the sun's place relative to the zodiac at the vernal equinox changes approximately every 2,150 years:
Thus, just over two millennia of the Age of Cancer (the Crab, associated with the moon and motherhood) are linked to the Neolithic Revolution; the Age of Gemini (the Twins) is thought to have been an extended period of multiple gods, especially in Ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia); the Age of Taurus (the Bull) is associated with earth and agriculture in Ancient Assyria, Egypt, and Crete; the Age of Aries (the Ram) followed, and is associated with war, fire, and the rise of the Jewish faith, along with empires in China, Persia, Greece and Rome; then came the Age of Pisces (the Fish), which is marked by Christianity and other forms of dominant monotheism, including Islam and Judaism. We are entering the Age of Aquarius, presumed to be a time of freedom, technology and group consciousness. For early 20th century occultists such as Aleister Crowley, each Age was dominated by a different Egyptian god.
Generally, one could say that dominant gods, religions and systems of worship are elaborate metaphors to describe symbolically any level of technology which reaches ascendancy in a particular two thousand year period. And those symbols have been drawn from how we see the night skies from Earth over millennia. The Aeon Group remarks:
Unfortunately for the likes of Crowley, Martian-based astronomy shows how Earth-centric our whole cosmic view is.Modern civilization with its scientific bias may fin[d] these ancient myths quaint and curious but to the seer, they are indispensable evolutionary symbols. They reveal where we are in Earth's developmental cycle and define the achievements which may be expected during any given age. Since every Age introduces a new archetypal element into the evolution, the symbols of that archetype allow the seer to 'rectify' the great procession of history in a way that sets each thing in its rightful place. With this "Gnostic Vision", one is able to move beyond the chaos of linear historical time into the integral vision of whole time in which our collective past becomes revealed as a 'Theophany'. Not in the general sense as the philosopher Hegel suggested, but in the specific order of things which reveals the timing, structure and purpose behind the Divine Will unfolding through the ages.
|Godform||Vernal Equinox||Autumnal Equinox||Approximate Dates|
|Thoth||Gemini||Sagittarius||6840 - 4320 b.c.e.|
|Nephthys||Taurus||Scorpio||4476 - 2306 b.c.e.|
|Isis||Aries||Libra||2306 - 156 b.c.e.|
|Osiris||Pisces||Virgo||156 b.c.e. - 1904 e.v. (0 e.n.)|
|Horus||Aquarius||Leo||1904 - 4064 e.v. (2160 e.n.)|
|Maat||Capricorn||Cancer||4064 - 6224 e.v. (4320 e.n.)|
|Anubis||Sagittarius||Gemini||6224 - 8384 e.v. (6480 e.n.)|
Table Source: Aeons Beyond the Three.
From Mars, the symbolic meaning of the precession of the equinoxes would change between planets. And because time-keeping on Mars is different from that on Earth, the nominal length of precessions, described in terms of Martian years, would change. On Earth, an aeon represents a complete cycle through the whole zodiac along the ecliptic. One full cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, or an aeon, is also known as a Great Year or Platonic Year, of approximate duration 25,800 (or 25,920) years. The aeons have also been given occult and gnostic designations. Mystery religions differ on how to characterize them, but the Platonic Year is often divided in half to reach a number called the Nineveh Constant, presumed to be the key to celestial harmonics.
The Nineveh Constant was a number cited by the Sumerians and the Mayans. But it also appears in fractal numbers, the Wilcock Constant, the Mandelbrot set, and the rate of acceleration due to gravity. For an excursion into weirdness, read the Genesis Hypothesis by Ian Beardsley, which explains how these numbers relate to the mathematics describing a life-sustaining planet, with occasional wild references to ancient aliens. Or see Ancient Numbers Revealed in Scientific Formulas. For those who believe in multiverses, this number seems to point to an omniversal time-space fractal and can calculate the number of universes in the whole omniverse.
I will examine the lore around the Nineveh Constant in a future post. Does it depend on its Earth-bound measurement? Or is this an element of absolute time? The simple shift in perspective to the Martian landscape raises a question asked in a thousand different ways, in many disciplines of thought. Which aspect conveys the truth of existence? The subjective or the objective perspective? Wiki:
The simple act of locating our perspective on the surface a different planet helps reveal how we got from Newton to Einstein. Martian views of the heavens change relative views, the symbols of cosmology, perceived time, and they raise the question: are there universals of space and time beyond our perception, or only two relative points in space? How Stuff Works:According to Newton, absolute time exists independently of any perceiver and progresses at a consistent pace throughout the universe. Unlike relative time, Newton believed absolute time was imperceptible and could only be understood mathematically. According to Newton, humans are only capable of perceiving relative time, which is a measurement of perceivable objects in motion (like the moon or sun). From these movements, we infer the passage of time. ... [But i]n Einstein's theories, the ideas of absolute time and space were superseded by the notion of spacetime in special relativity, and by dynamically curved spacetime in general relativity.
Newton's view on time kept it separate from space. When Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity in the early 20th century, however, he suggested that time wasn't separate from space but connected to it. Time and space combined to form space-time, and everyone measures his or her own experience in it differently because the speed of light (300,000 km per second) is the same for all observers. In other words, if all observers have to agree on the speed of light being 300,000 km per second, then they can't agree on the time it takes for other objects to travel relative to them.
Einstein also suggested that space-time wasn't flat, but curved or "warped" by the existence of matter and energy. Large bodies in space-time, like the Earth, aren't just floating in orbit. Instead, imagine an apple resting on a stretched out blanket -- the weight of the apple warps the sheet. If the Earth is an apple, then we can imagine the Earth's blanket as space-time.
Could we find a continuous existence in spacetime that is not dependent on what we perceive in one place and time? Because if we could, that would raise a question of how we exist beyond perceived time. In his later papers, Einstein speculated on a third, semi-Newtonian, but non-absolute element called the aether, which resembles what we call Dark Matter; in 1920, Einstein wrote:This means that someone moving through space-time will experience it differently at various points. Time will actually appear to move slower near massive objects, because space-time is warped by the weight. These predictions have actually been proven.
While the 'aether' idea was not accepted, this other dimension consistently reappears in our thinking and raises questions for physicists and philosophers. Wiki:In order to be able to look upon the rotation of the system, at least formally, as something real, Newton objectivises space. Since he classes his absolute space together with real things, for him rotation relative to an absolute space is also something real. Newton might no less well have called his absolute space “Ether”; what is essential is merely that besides observable objects, another thing, which is not perceptible, must be looked upon as real, to enable acceleration or rotation to be looked upon as something real.
According to Presentism, time is an ordering of various realities. At a certain time some things exist and others do not. This is the only reality we can deal with and we cannot for example say that Homer exists because at the present time he does not. An Eternalist, on the other hand, holds that time is a dimension of reality on a par with the three spatial dimensions, and hence that all things—past, present, and future—can be said to be just as real as things in the present. According to this theory, then, Homer really does exist, though we must still use special language when talking about somebody who exists at a distant time—just as we would use special language when talking about something far away (the very words near, far, above, below, and such are directly comparable to phrases such as in the past, a minute ago, and so on).
The positions on the persistence of objects are somewhat similar. An endurantist holds that for an object to persist through time is for it to exist completely at different times (each instance of existence we can regard as somehow separate from previous and future instances, though still numerically identical with them). A perdurantist on the other hand holds that for a thing to exist through time is for it to exist as a continuous reality, and that when we consider the thing as a whole we must consider an aggregate of all its "temporal parts" or instances of existing. Endurantism is seen as the conventional view and flows out of our pre-philosophical ideas (when I talk to somebody I think I am talking to that person as a complete object, and not just a part of a cross-temporal being), but perdurantists have attacked this position. (An example of a perdurantist is David Lewis.) One argument perdurantists use to state the superiority of their view is that perdurantism is able to take account of change in objects.
Image Source: Keep Calm-o-Matic.
The constellations on Mars are the same, but the orientation is different. On Earth, the north star, or Polaris, is located in the constellation Ursa Minor - the Little Bear - also known as the Little Dipper. On Mars, the north celestial pole is in Cygnus. There is no pole star, rather the celestial pole lies between two stars:
Earth has no southern polar star suitable for navigation. On Mars, the south star is Markeb:The top two stars in the Northern Cross, Sadr and Deneb, point to the north celestial pole of Mars. The pole is about halfway between Deneb and Alpha Cephei, less than 10° from the former, a bit more than the apparent distance between Sadr and Deneb. Because of its proximity to the pole, Deneb never sets in nearly all of Mars's northern hemisphere. Except in areas close to the equator, Deneb permanently circles the North pole. The orientation of Deneb and Sadr would make a useful clock hand for telling sidereal time.
The South celestial pole is correspondingly found at 9h 10m 42s and −52° 53.0′, which is a couple of degrees from the 2.5-magnitude star Kappa Velorum (which is at 9h 22m 06.85s −55° 00.6′), which could therefore be considered the southern polar star. The star Canopus, second brightest in the sky, is a circumpolar star for most southern latitudes.
"Mars’ north polar axis points toward Deneb and the Northern Cross which are part of the larger Summer Triangle. This view shows the sky from mid-northern latitudes on Mars. From roughly 10 degrees north of the Martian equator to the north pole, Deneb never sets." Image Source: Astro Bob. See more constellation maps in the Martian sky in Astro Bob's post.
Stars and planets in Martian night skies. Image Source: The Gale Gazette.