Rare Celestial Alignment:
Jupiter and Neptune Align with Feb 1, 2003 New Moon

by Anthony J. McGettigan

A Rare Alignment

On the evening of Friday, January 31, into the early morning hours of February 1, 2003, there will occur a rare alignment of planetary bodies involving Earth, Moon, Sun, Neptune, and Jupiter.

As midnight approaches across the western hemisphere, Jupiter will climb toward the mid-heaven as Moon and Sun conjoin at the nadir close to Neptune. In layman's terms, this means that for a brief time five of the 10 major bodies in our solar system will be arranged in a straight line with our planet near the top of the lineup (just below Jupiter).

Although Earth, Moon, and Sun line up at each new and full moon, it is not a frequent event that two other planets join this lineup so closely. Because Jupiter and Neptune are only opposite one another once every twelve years, the event is even more unusual.


Observing the Alignment

Jupiter is the only body in this alignment that will be visible in the night sky. Jupiter is viewable all night long these days (because it's roughly opposite to the Sun in our sky at this time). To locate Jupiter at midnight, (from the northern hemisphere) face south and look up. Jupiter will be the brightest object near the middle of your view.

If we could observe this alignment from a distance, it would look something like this:

Of course the sizes and distances shown in this picture are not proportional. The actual distances involved (approximately 2.3 billion miles from Jupiter to Neptune at the present time) would make even the Sun appear very small.


Suggestions for Contemplative Exploration

New moon is always a good time for contemplation and reflection. It's the beginning of a fresh moon cycle and the end of the preceding cycle. It's an opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of the last month and for taking stock of the conditions under which we begin this new cycle.

The new moon in Aquarius is potent for issues connected with friendships, community, and individual freedom. Although these themes may seem contradictory, this is a wonderful time for considering how such things are interrelated.

Jupiter in Leo adds qualities like confidence, generosity, and benevolence. Neptune in Aquarius potentially brings visionary qualities and access to deep levels of intuition and insight. The combination of these elements presents us with a great opportunity for gaining insight into the ways that we can develop our greatest potentials for the good of our larger community and for the benefit of the whole world.

This event will be a time when our meditations and prayers will be strongly magnified. It signals a moment when we may intuitively understand the subtle qualities of our present experience. Such insight presents us with the opportunity to make wise decisions about how to best respond to all that our circumstances are presently revealing.


Related story:
"Celestial Alignments and the Columbia Tragedy"


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Copyright 2003 AJ McGettigan