Why Asteroid Features Are Important:
In the late 20th century and early 21st century astronomers made remarkable discoveries that change our understanding of the solar system. Whereas there was once a fairly clear distinction between planets and asteroids, the distinction has become blurred. There is a range of objects varying from those that are clearly planets (Mercury, Earth, Venus, Mars, etc.) to those that have some attributes of planets (Ceres, Pluto, etc.) to the many thousands of objects that are clearly asteroids. Given the wide spectrum of objects and the astronomical discoveries that have made the distinction between planets and some asteroids less clear-cut than it used to be, we have worked to build access to asteroids in many parts of the software.
Adding Newly Discovered Asteroids:
We periodically update our software as major new asteroids are discovered or asteroids are named. Asteroids are calculated using an asteroid ephemeris created by AstroDienst, the makers of the Swiss Ephemeris routines. As new asteroid ephemerides become available they can be added to the asteroid ephemerides in Kepler and Sirius, and they are detected and can be accessed. This feature makes it possible for new asteroids to become available in Kepler and Sirius as new asteroids are discovered or information about their orbits is improved.
Given below is a summary of some of the most important features in Sirius for use with asteroids. Whether this feature is also available in Kepler is also mentioned.
1. Asteroids included in the software
Kepler comes with over 1,000 asteroids and Sirius comes with over 1,400 asteroids. You can also purchase a set of 4 CD's that provides an additional 38,000 asteroids. If the optional asteroids are purchased, these asteroids can be accessed as well.
2. Asteroids in a "regular" chart wheel
In Sirius you can put over a dozen asteroids in a chart wheel. Suppose, for example, that you wish to have Ceres, Sedna, and Eris in your chart wheels but not any other asteroids. You can do this in Sirius. If there is a glyph available for the asteroid, the glyph can be used or a 3-letter abbreviation can be used. With this feature you do not have hand-draw asteroids in a wheel or have asteroids you do not wish to have in a chart wheel. They are placed in the wheel just like the planets. In Sirius 1.1 we added a feature not in Sirius 1.0 of being able to have a table that indicates which asteroid is associated with each glyph or 3-letter abbreviation. Otherwise, it may not be obvious to others that "Sed", for example, is Sedna. Placing asteroids in a regular chart wheel is available only in Sirius.
3. The Asteroid Wheel
The Asteroid Wheel is a BiWheel with the planets in the inner wheel and asteroids in the outer wheel. Because there is more room for asteroids, over 60 asteroids can be placed in an Asteroids Wheel. The Asteroids Wheel is very helpful when you wish to have, for example, a few dozen asteroids in your chart wheel. The Asteroid Wheel is available in both Kepler and Sirius.
4. Asteroid Listings
If you wish to study more than about 60 asteroids then it becomes impossible to fit them in a chart wheel. In both Kepler and Sirius you can produce listings of asteroids. Some of the default settings are listings of 1,000 asteroids or thousands of asteroids if you own the 38,000 asteroid CD, and perhaps most useful is the "My Asteroids" list which allows you to create your own lists. You can produce lists in alphabetical or zodiac order. There are severa default "My Asteroid" lists. In Sirius we added a few more default lists like the Demetra George list of asteroids that Demetra George often uses, and asteroids that are named after places, asteroids that are mythical in nature, etc. Of course you can create your own list as well. In Sirius there is greater flexibility in the information that you include in the listing so you can, for example, have only the asteroid name, asteroid number, and its zodiac position if you wish, and you can also include latitude, speed, right ascension, and/or declination if you wish. You can also produce a 180 degree, 90 degree, 120 degree, 60 degree, etc. sort. This allows you to see planets aspecting an asteroid. Some astrologers, for example, use the 180 degree sort to see conjunctions and oppositions to the asteroids. The planet and angular house cusp positions are incuded in the list as well, with asterisks before and after the planet name, so that you can scan above and below the planet to see which asteroids are aspecting the planet. This feature is available only in Sirius.
5. Asteroid transits
You can include up to 8 asteroids in a transit list. The asteroid can be the transiting planet and/or the natal planet. You can, therefore, obtain transit lists or transit time lines with transiting and natal Sedna, Eris, and Chiron only (in addition to the planets) if you wish. This feature is available only in Sirius.
6. Asteroids in the graphic ephemeris
You can also put transiting asteroids in a graphic ephemeris. As with the features described above, you can select the specific asteroids you wish to have and if you own the 38,000 asteroids option, virtually any named asteroid can be selected. This feature is available only in Sirius.
7. Asteroids Text Ephemeris
You can create an ephemeris (not a graphic ephemeris, but a regular ephemeris or "text ephemeris" as we call it to distinguish it from a graphic ephemeris). Some astrologers wait anxiously for an ephemeris to be available online when a major new asteroid is discovered but with Kepler and Sirius you can download the asteroid file from AstroDienst or if it is a very major asteroid we will add it free of charge to our update program, and you can obtain the text ephemeris yourself, as well as use the asteroid in all the other ways described in this article. This feature is available in both Kepler and Sirius.
8. Asteroids in AstroMaps
You can place any asteroid in an AstroMap. You can, therefore, see the Sedna and Eris AstroMap lines just as you can see a planet line on an AstroMap. This feature is available only in Sirius.
9. Asteroids in AstroSignature Research
The AstroSignature research feature of Kepler and Sirius is a fabulously flexible research feature that allows you to search for any aspects, house placements, midpoints, etc. that you are interested in and you can even give a different weight to each astrological factor to obtain a score for each chart. In Sirius you can include asteroids in the AstroSignature. This feature allows you, for example, to search the database of over 43,000 charts provided in Sirius to see all charts in which the Sun is conjunct Eris (or any other aspect, planet in house, etc.) This feature is available only in Sirius.
10. The Asteroid Signatures Option
Jacob Schwartz has created an option for both Kepler and Sirius called the Asteroid Signatures Report. This report allows you to see all asteroids related to any of thousands of topics that make aspects in a birth chart. Suppose you wish to know if any asteroids related to "Chicago" or "London" or someone's name like "Charles" or "Virginia" make aspects to planets in your chart. With the Asteroid Signatures report you can do this.
11. Other Features, and Future Features
The above list was created from memory, and it is possible that we neglected to mention some features. If there is a particular feature that you would like, let us know and we will let you know if it is possible. If not and it is a feature that others would be interested in, we will add to our list of things to do. Astrology is almost endless but we are attempting to create software that will provide the features that most people need. The same attention that we have given to asteroid calculations is given to our calculations in Vedic, Hellenistic, medieval, harmonics, symmetrical astrology, etc. as well so our software gives you a resource for exploring and working with a broad array of ideas. Of course no one uses all of these features but they are there if you ever need them.
AUTHOR: David Cochrane