New world rivals Pluto
Pluto has new, far out peer
Varuna presides over the relationship of man with the gods. He is the ruler of the "other side", of the invisible world. The sudden favor of the gods and the elements, their unaccountable cruelty, cannot be understood. The behavior of Varuna, who rules over the invisible, cannot be foreseen; hence he appears a dangerous lord, a despot. "He is the owner of the magic-power (maya) through which forms are created. He represents the inner reality of things, higher truth, and order in their transcendent aspects, beyond the understanding of man. His absolute power is felt during the night and in all that is mysterious, while man-made laws, represented by Mitra, rule the day.
Although usually linked with Mitra, Varuna is occasionally invoked alone and is the uncontested ruler (samraj) of the Adityas. He is everywhere, in the universe and around it, pervading all things as the inner law and order of creation. "He bound together the hours of the day and established the morning with magic art. He is seen beyond all things. He is the creator and sustainer of the world, having inherited the prehistoric function of the sky (Dyaus). He established and maintains natural and moral laws, expressions of the cosmic order. His laws are unassailable and rest upon him as on a mountain.
As the King, Varuna is the justice-giver, whose duty it is to punish the guilty. He catches the evildoers and binds them with his noose. "The Lord who punishes is Varuna. He is the King whose duty it is to punish." He is "the binder", whose envoys are watching over both worlds, whose spies are ever at work. He gives freedom to the sinner who repents.
In later mythology Varuna came to be relegated to the position of a god of death. Indra, the ruler of the sphere of space, took precedence over him, the ruler of the sky. In the Mahabharata and all later texts Varuna appears as the lord of the waters, and ruler of the sea and the subterranean waters. He is the giver of rain, of hydropsy, and has been the owner of the soma. He rules over the rivers and their genii. The serpent gods, the nagas, are his subjects. He also rules over the anti-gods. He is the regent of the western direction. His domain is the western ocean. He also rules over one of the lunar mansions.
The name Varuna may come from the root vr, meaning "to surround, envelope, or cover." It refers to the sky, all that veils or covers, all that is mysterious, cryptic, hidden. Varuna is also the lord of the causal waters that surround the world. The name Varuna can also be derived from the root vr, "to restrain", "to check" referring to the god's character as the giver of punishment. "He covers all things or binds, hence he is Varuna.
According to the Vedas, Varuna has four faces, one which is like the face of Agni. He has a tongue, he eats and drinks. His eye, shared with Mitra, is the sun. Sometimes he has a thousand fierce eyes. He winks; his breath is the wind. He has arms and beautiful hands, as well as a shining foot. He is splendidly dressed, wearing a golden mantle. Two armed, he stands on the back of a swan. His right hand shows the gesture of removing fear. In his left hand he holds a noose made of a serpent.
-The Gods of India
((Avestan: Wise Lord), ) also spelled Ormizd, or Ormazd, supreme god in ancient Iranian religion, especially in the religious system of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (7th century6th century BC). Ahura Mazda was worshiped by the Persian king Darius I (reigned 522 BC486 BC) and his successors as the greatest of all gods and protector of the just king. According to Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda created the universe and the cosmic order that he maintains. He created the twin spirits Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman)the former beneficent, choosing truth, light, and life, the latter destructive, choosing deceit, darkness, and death. The struggle of the spirits against each other makes up the history of the world.
Object SOri 70 May 22, 2002 A new substellar object, named SOri70, has been discovered near the young star Sigma Orionis. Is it a young planet, or a wandering old brown dwarf in the line of sight?
Astronomers Find Sun's Twin 07 January 2004 ATLANTA - The Sun has a twin, astronomers announced Tuesday.The solar doppelganger hits nearly identical marks in temperature, rotation and age. Planet hunters have it on their lists, but theres no word yet whether carbon-based folks are looking back at their stars twin, our own Sun.
The constellation of Orion's belt is the area of the sky known to the Sioux as the Heart of the White Buffalo constellation. The White Buffalo legend states that a sacred maiden brought a holy pipe to be used by the Sioux. When she departed she said she would return to help the people when they were in trouble and turmoil. As she turned to leave she turned into a black buffalo, then a red buffalo, then a yellow buffalo, and finally into a white buffalo. Then she went back up into the clouds.
OBJECT UB313 TEMPLE-SILVERSTAR
Large world found beyond Pluto Monday, 7 October, 2002 A new planet-like object has been found circling the Sun more than one and a half billion kilometres beyond Pluto. Quaoar, as it has been dubbed, is about 1,280 kilometres across (800 miles) and is the biggest find in the Solar System since Pluto itself 72 years ago. The object is about one-tenth the diameter of Earth and circles the Sun every 288 years. It is half Pluto's size, but apparently larger than the ninth planet's moon, Charon. Brown and colleague Chadwick Trujillo discovered the new world on 4 June. They used a telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California and followed-up their discovery with the Hubble Space Telescope. "Quaoar" (pronounced kwah-o-wahr) It can be detected just northwest of the constellation Scorpio.
Astronomers named the new object Quaoar, after the creation myth of the Tongva people who inhabited the Los Angeles area before the arrival of the Spanish and other European settlers. To the indigenous peoples, Quaoar was the great force of nature that summoned all other things into being.
Object 2001 KX76 02 July 2001 Astronomers have found one of the largest objects ever detected orbiting the Sun.
DOUBLE ASTEROID: Astronomers announced yesterday that near-Earth asteroid 1999 KW4 -- a space rock that will pass 12.6 lunar distances from Earth on May 25th -- is a binary! Data from NASA's Goldstone Planetary Radar (pictured right) reveal "separations up to at least 2 km between the components, whose sizes differ by a factor of at least three." 1999 KW4 will brighten to 11th magnitude in the days ahead --an easy target for modest amateur telescopes equipped with CCD cameras-- as it zips through the constellations Aquila and Ophiuchus.
A Double Asteroid Flies Past Earth Amateurs with 4-inch or larger telescopes might catch sight of a fleet visitor from the inner solar system when it passes near Earth on the final weekend of May. The minor planet 1999 KW4 belongs to the elite class of Aten asteroids, which circle the Sun in less than a year and range only briefly outside the Earth's orbit, and this one has shortest period of all, about 188 days. No other known solar-system member except the planet Mercury has a "year" so short. And this tiny object is headed our way.
SS: Aten is known as the celestial god Ra who manifested himself periodically---the Celestial Disc depicted as the Winged Globe.
Photo: Astronomers captured this radar image of binary asteroid 1999 KW4 when the two space rocks passed within 3 million miles of Earth between May 23-25, 2001. The three frames show several-hour time exposures of a smaller moon, about one-quarter of a mile across, orbiting in a clockwise fashion a companion three times as large. The larger asteroid appears blimp-like because it is rotating faster than its smaller companion. Astronomers announced Wednesday, May 30, 2001, that the discovery of asteroid 1999 KW4 marks only the eighth time astronomers have successfully imaged an asteroid locked in an orbital embrace with a companion. (AP Photo/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Photo: One of the November 28th discovery images for a new and potentially very large object in the distant Kuiper Belt. The moving object at center is the new "planet". Courtesy Project Spacewatch.
CROWDED SPACE: Last month, Dennis Simmons of Brisbane, Australia, decided to photograph the dwarf planet Eris (formerly known as 2003 UB313). He did that--and more. His final image, consisting of exposures spanning four nights (Sept. 19-22), revealed "a smorgasbord of exotic astronomical objects." "There are five PGC galaxies in the image, three of which are labeled," says Simmons. "A couple of asteroids also made a cameo appearance: 2003 XY14 on Sept 20th followed by 1999 SV7 on Sept 22nd, passing silently through the field while I was imaging Eris." Finally there is Eris itself, nine billion miles from the sun but still visible from Brisbane. Who said space is empty?
Dwarf planet Eris, the view through a 9" Celestron telescope.