A lesser-known constellation of the northern sky, Vulpecula has the distinction of being located within the Summer Triangle, near the path of the Milky Way. Translating to little fox, this constellation was named more recently in astronomical history and lacks the mythological foundation that many of the better-known constellations carry. Vulpecula was originally illustrated as a fox with a goose in its mouth. At one point, the constellation was divided in two, fox and goose, but later merged once more with its brightest star, Anser, translating to, and representing, the goose. To find the celestial fox, first find the Summer Triangle, an asterism formed by Vega (of the Lyra constellation), Altair (of Aquila), and Deneb (of Cygnus). (For more help finding the Summer Triangle, refer to the August 2019 edition of Moonshine Ink). Vulpecula runs through the center in a zig-zag pattern with a fork on one end. Look for Anser, which is classified as a red giant and shines with a ruddy glow. Although not a prominent constellation, the end of August is an ideal time to view the little fox, which is highest in the sky around 10 p.m.
Following its exhilarating conjunction with Uranus in the late degrees of Taurus, Mars enters Gemini on Aug. 20, where it will remain through the end of 2022. All told, Mars will spend seven months in the mutable air sign, a much longer sojourn than its typical six-week-per-sign transit. This is because Mars will turn retrograde in late October, reversing course before reaching Cancer, then turning direct before backtracking into the previous sign, Taurus. Mars will invigorate this realm of thought and communication, inspiring a youthful inquisitiveness, an indefatigable logic, and lively debate. Gemini also governs our close networks, neighborhoods, and siblings, all of which will be given a boost by the fiery planet’s presence. However, while Mars is energizing these areas, Gemini’s ruling planet, Mercury, will be in grounded Virgo, putting a practical check on the matter. As Mercury ingresses into Libra, then turns retrograde in the sign of relationship in early September, we will need to mind our words if we want to maintain harmony. Pay attention to what is unfolding now, and perhaps keep a journal. What happens over the next few weeks will be revisited in the final months of the year. A written record may help you to understand your drive and desires more clearly and help shape your resolutions for 2023.