Scorpio spans the 210th to 240th degree of the zodiac, between 207.25 and 234.75 degree of celestial longitude, an area which the sun transits on average between 23rd October and 22nd November, linked to the constellation Scorpius. Astrologers use Pluto as its ruler.
Carl Sagan was born on 9th November 1934 and that would make him a Scorpio. Carl was born in Brooklyn. He had an inquisitive mind with a fascination about the heavens and astronomy and at the age of five, made a courageous journey through the metropolis to his local library where he asked the librarian for a book on the stars. I remember he was initially given the wrong book - it on film stars or it could have been astrology - I can't remember which. He politely pointed out that they were not the stars he had in mind and the librarian was hugely impressed when it became apparent he wanted a book on astronomy.
Sagan became a huge advocate of science and the scientific method, debunking myth, speculation and fantasy (although he was a huge fan of science fiction). He was not always taken seriously by fellow scientists because of his passion in extra-terrestrial life (or aliens). However Sagan's rational mind would not allow him to be taken in by the myriad of UFO sightings following the first films on the subject (it is strange that there were no sightings before UFOs were popularised by the media - or perhaps it isn't). Sagan was asked to sit on a committee where such signings were investigated. He would clearly have been delighted to report a genuine sighting however 99% of those reported could be explained by other factors (he would have had access to confidential data on military test flights for example). The other 1% was inconclusive. However Sagan persisted in getting the subject recognised as a respectable scientific endeavour (when approached rationally) and founded SETI, a programme to Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. The SETI programme used radio-telescopes to scour the universe for radio communication from space. Sadly none so far have been detected however it is highly likely that life exists somewhere in the universe and the search continues.
Sagan went on to promote the stars, initially with his ground-breaking documentary series ' Cosmos' now also a book. Even today, this series is still a remarkable tour of the stars and highly recommended at only around £10 for hours of entertainment.
Sagan managed to convince the authorities to take a special photograph from the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Sagan was hugely excited about the prospect of close encounters with Saturn and Jupiter, however when 3.7 billion miles from the earth, he got the camera turned to take a photo of the Earth. At that distance the Earth could hardly be seen; it was just a pale blue dot in space. Sagan's idea was to show how inconspicuous our planet is and how alone in space we really are. If the camera on Voyager 1 were to beam a photograph after a million years on its journey, most of the constellations we use for our star signs would not be recognisable. Space is three dimensional (at least) and our view of the cosmos is unique; the patterns of stars we see appear nowhere else in the universe; they do not really exist as groups of stars in reality; only from our unique viewpoint. That makes the claims of astrologers' somewhat perplexing perhaps?Return to zodiac wheel
© 2013, Dave Parker