Tomorrow on 12th July 2011, Neptune will celebrate her first birthday, as far as our knowledge of her on Earth goes. It was on the evening of the 24th September 1846 when Neptune was discovered by Johann Gottfried Galle, using mathematical predictions made by Frenchman Urbain le Verrier. Around the same time, British Astronomer John Couch Adams discovered Neptune independently, and now all three are credited. Since that day, it has been 164.79 Earth years or 1 Neptunian year since she was first viewed.
Looking at the day astrologically, Neptune was closely conjunct to Saturn and sextile to Pluto. Effectively, Neptune which was hidden to the world (Pluto) was being given definitive form (Saturn). There was a lovely quindecile aspect from social Venus in analytical Virgo to the Saturn/Neptune conjunction. Here we see people working intensely together to work out the exact location of Neptune (all these precise calculations are very Virgo), before the announcement to the public (Venus). Quindecile aspects create enormous focus, and finally that focus brought Neptune into being and to our knowledge. At the same time there was a trine from Mars (in social Libra) to Uranus, Mars being the planet of pushing forward barriers, and Uranus (in Mars’ sign of Aries complementing the trine) of course rules anything to do with space and our universe. Incidentally, the Saturn/Neptune conjunction was in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, thus beautifully completing the picture of a new planet being found in our solar system. The square from Venus and Mercury to Jupiter in Gemini shows news (Mercury/Gemini) being shared publically about the new planet in a far off place (Jupiter is all about knowledge and discovery). If Neptune was first seen around 21.40, the Saturn/Neptune conjunction would have been at the Midheaven, the most elevated point in the sky & a quite appropriate position for the discovery to happen.
Of course to us astrologers, the discovery of Neptune filled in a new piece in the jigsaw of how the planets affect us all, and Neptune’s rulership of mysterious Pisces is still very apt. In truth, 164 years after her discovery, we still know few hard and fast facts about Neptune the planet. Just like a lady wearing a veil, many of the secrets of Neptune are still hidden beneath her noxious gaseous atmosphere, the beauty of her form hiding a forbidding world below.
Happy birthday Neptune!!!