Stellar Mechanics & the Dynamics of Mercury’s Pattern

A few days ago, I was on the Gulf Coast, fishing. Pictures are up, elsewhere. The trip itself was hugely successful, on the water at 6 in the morning, had a limit of fish by 7:45, real honey hole for fishing.

This isn’t about fishing. Timing was important because, to start with, Mercury was Retrograde, and by noon, I was worn out. The guy I was fishing with, local old salt, he knows times, tides, and weather. He can read water and clouds.

So, by noon, we were reeling in fish, unhooking them, and tossing those fish back. I stretched out on the boat’s foredeck, intent on a short nap. Through my sunglasses, I watched the clouds.

We talked about the last hurricane that promised rain, and how the underside of one the clouds overhead looked like it might sprinkle. The last hurricane was a dud.

“We’ve had half an inch of rain since January,” the sad lament echoed throughout South Texas.

We were watching the tide ebb and flow.

“High tide was what, 5:52 this morning?” I asked.

While that was what the chart showed, we watched as the tide ebbed and flowed, washing in more than draining out. It changed three times while we were parked in that one spot. It was an oyster bar, with a large bight draining into the body of the bay. Good place to sit and catch fish as they were feeding on whatever bait was draining in and out of the bight.

We discussed time and tide charts, and the conclusion was, the local charts were nearly unusable, the tidal tables would show when high tide was a supposed to occur, and the local charts might be accurate to an hour or two, but that was about it.

The local tidal tables, in part, due to the fickle nature of the bay’s topography, but still, the local charts were next to useless — nothing beats observation.

Mercury orbits the sun approximately ever 88 days. Relative to the motion of the fixed stars, the constellations and the other observable planets, Mercury appears to move backwards three, maybe four times in a single year.

After fishing my heart out that morning, at one point, I was idly discussing weather patterns, the unreliable nature of the local time and tide charts, and the lackluster hurricane season. Low, coastal clouds were gradually moving inshore, more a promise of rain than real moisture. I stretched out on the front deck and looked up, keeping one rod tip in view, expecting more action.

Early, the clouds were clearly blowing inland. As I lay there on the deck, I watched as the low, fluffy clouds seemed to be moving offshore. I remarked as much.

My fishing buddy looked up, as an astute nature observer, he pointed out the fallacy of my visible notation.

“See, the higher, thin clouds? They’re moving faster. Makes those low clouds look like they’re moving backwards.”

Therein is the perfect analogy for what happens when Mercury goes Retrograde. Mercury, like the high, thin clouds, moves faster. Makes us look like we’re moving backwards.

Celestial dynamics are sometimes a tough subject to get a handle on, like a slippery fish.

Those clouds, and the discussion before hand about the time, tide, currents, and winds — the Gulf Coast weather — made the cloud observation an easier way to grasp the mechanics of what happens when Mercury goes Retrograde.

By Kramer Wetzel AstroFish.Net

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