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Skywatch

Mon May 23, 2016 MOON AND SATURN IN OPHIUCHUS

Last night the moon and the planet Saturn could be found near each other above the constellation Scorpius. Actually they were both within the borders of a star pattern named Ophiuchus, which is depicted as a big guy wearing a toga and holding a snake – he’s actually a mythical doctor, it’s a long story. Okay – Ophiuchus is not the guy’s name, that’s his title, which means, “serpent bearer.” His actual name is Asclepius, and those in the medical profession still swear by Asclepius when they take the Hippocratic oath. The snake is a symbol of restored health, as it rejuvenates when it sheds its skin; and in the old days, snakes roamed free in sick rooms, so when you got out of bed you had to watch where you stepped. Tonight the ringed planet is in pretty much the same place in the sky, but the moon has moved along in its orbit of the earth and is now farther to the east of Saturn, crossing over into the stars of Sagittarius the Archer.