SoftStar Weblog    

Note: You can get free astrology software, download free demo versions of professional programs, and read my published reviews and articles to learn more about computer programs for astrology at my web page: Ultimate Guide to Astrology Software.

p.s. Please feel free to explore my 150+ free tutorials in Western & Vedic astrology at:

And my new ongoing column on Insights in Western and Vedic astrology -- Updated Monday, March 22, 2021


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Incredible Solar and Planetary Animations

Astronomical filming is reaching new heights, and the following two videos are truly wonderful for those who love the planets:

The first video is a time-lapse set of over 78,000 photos of the Sun taken over a month combined to form this incredible animation.

The second video shows Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all rotating on their axes for a single rotation. Amazing!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Transcending Reductionism in Astrology:
Part Two

Here's the second part of my new article, with an example chart.

Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A stunning array of Jupiter photos
from the new Juno space mission

As the Juno spacecraft meets Jupiter, more and more photos of their encounter have been released here.

From shadows on its surface from its moons, to merging storms, to lovely Jovian cloudscapes, the collection is definitely worth exploring.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Top Ten Astrology Programs

I wrote a new article on the top ten astrology programs here, to help astrologers find what they need quickly and effectively.

May it serve you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

An amazing Jupiter video

Here's an amazing video of Jupiter's rotation, filmed over 5 nights from a balcony in Paris!

While the Earth rotates in 24 hours, the much larger Jupiter rotates in 10 hours.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mars rotating video

The video of Mars rotating, which you can see here, first shows two revolutions of Mars, and then exaggerates the topography of Mars for the rest of the video.

Very interesting to watch!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Transcending Reductionism in Astrology: Part One

It is easy for astrologers just starting off to think that a planet or house just represents one or two themes.

In this series, I will explore all of the traps of tunnel-vision and the alternative wholism that creates the fullest and most powerful astrology.

Monday, October 4, 2021

The new mission to Mercury

A European space mission called BepiColombo has just arrived at Mercury and is starting to take photos of the closest planet to the Sun.

I came across this article at that is well written and has a particularly well done video about why this mission is important.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

How to import Solar Fire files into Astro Gold for the Mac

As astrologers move from the PC to the Mac, they want to move their chart files over to the Mac.

One of the most common shifts is from Solar Fire to Astro Gold for the Mac.

Here are instructions on how to move your chart files from Solar Fire to Astro Gold for the Mac.

p.s. If you decide that you want to purchase Astro Gold for the Mac, you can get a discounted cross-upgrade price from Solar Fire or the IO Edition here, and purchase it new here.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Insights on Partiles, Passion, and Sexual Deviance

Years ago, I wrote a Vedic article based upon the teachings of my Vedic Guru Hart de Fouw on passion combinations in the chart called, "The Problems with Passion".

This week, I wrote a follow-up article called, "Insights on Partiles, Passion, and Sexual Deviance"

I hope it proves of value to you.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Subscription-based astrology apps

For astrologers on-the-go, being able to access their chart files anywhere they are, as well as a set of astrology tools including charting, can be a great boon.

Several apps have been released that are cloud-based, i.e. you pay an ongoing fee, go to their website, log in, and voilà, you have access to your chart file and a set of calculations.

I've written an article on the advantages and disadvantages of subscription-based astrology apps here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

How to select chart points and aspected points in Solar Fire
my latest YouTube video

Since I've been asked several times by my customers how to modify what points are shown in charts (and have aspect lines to them) in Solar Fire, I decided to create this tutorial video.

I hope that it serves you well.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

My Tea and Oud blogs -- Updated!

As my readers know, I have many interests, and after a seven year gap, I've finally found enough great oolong teas to write a new page in my tea blog.

And my love affair with the transcendental Oud (aka Agarwood oil) continues with my new 24th page of my Oud blog.

I hope that these writings guide you to great experiences.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Top Ten Astrology Software

It's been quite a while since I wrote an overview of the astrology programs that I think are most noteworthy, and so I created a new article called "The Top Ten Astrology Software"

May it guide you well.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Astronomy Guide & Events Calendar 2021-2022
Best Things to See in the Night Sky

I was recently contacted about a lovely free guide to the events in the night sky.

Feel free to enjoy the booklet and its photos here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Temporal Status of Planets as benefics and malefics

In Vedic astrology, the impact of house rulership is paramount, and there are planets that give challenging effects (temporal malefics) or uplifting effects (temporal benefics) depending upon what house(s) they rule.

Here's my latest tutorial article: The Temporal Status of Planets as benefics and malefics, on this topic.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

The actual brightness of the planets

I am just completing a course by Hart de Fouw on Heliacal Phases that has been very empowering and deeply insightful.

I never realized that, for example, a planet can be, on specific occasions, visible when only 3 degrees from the Sun (and so not combust), or invisible at far greater distances than one might expect.

In fact, there is no software that accurately calculates planetary visibility because they don't take into account enough factors (such as altitude, atmospheric density, differing speed of ascensions, actual magnitude, and location).

And in an amazing article called How bright are the planets? from Sky & Telescope is an amazing graph that shows that Mercury is sometimes dimmer than Neptune!

The article also shows that some planets vary widely in magnitude and others do not.

I highly recommend that you read this article.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Looking at Eclipses from Both Sides
by Zane B Stein

Esoteric Technologies created this excellent article showing the difference between astrological and astronomical eclipses and how to adjust the settings in Solar Fire and Astro Gold for the Mac for each.

It's really brilliant!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Malware surges in Mac computers

According to both Apple and anti-malware vendors, "There is a rising tide of Mac threats hitting a population that still believes that 'Macs don't get viruses'. The amount of malware being detected on Macs last year was outpacing that on PCs for the first time. And he cited overconfident Apple users as one of the reasons." (attributed to Thomas Reed of Malwarebytes)

Apple themselves cited 'significant' malware on Mac recently. Apple's head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, says attacks have risen as well. "Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don't find acceptable," he said this week.

So it's time for all Mac users to install an anti-malware program onto their Mac system.

Here's a thorough evalution of the top programs, in case you wish to see which are best.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Second House: Ownership and Self Esteem

I just added a new discussion about the Second House and its themes to my Ongoing Insights column.


Monday, April 26, 2021

The Transit Oasis -- When Less is More

I just wrote a new tutorial article here, exploring the times when few or no transits are happening.

I hope that these insights serve you well.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Importance of the Ascendant
and Confirming your Ascendant degree

The latest addition to my Ongoing Insights column reviews the importance of the Rising Sign and what to watch out for in order to know if your Ascendant is correct.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Predictive Graphs and Time Maps in Astrology Software

About a decade ago, I wrote my article on Transit Graphs and Time Maps in Astrology Software.

Since then, some of the programs added many capabilities and new software became available, so I just spent two days updating the article here, and added Time Graph images for every program in the article.

Time Maps are an incredible feature of astrology programs. They enable us to see what's happening in the sky and how various cycles overlap.

I hope that you enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Stunning Space Photographs

The Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 awards have been given and you can see the winning entries here.

Click through the galleries to find winning and shortlisted images from this year's competition, from incredible skyscapes and images of aurorae to remarkable photos of distant planets and galaxies.

They are truly amazing and beautiful and worth exploring.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Astrolabe's Hot Degrees and Retrogrades 2021

Once again, Astrolabe has generously published their annual tables of Hot Degrees 2021 and Retrogrades 2021.

Hot Degrees shows the positions of the planets and outer planet midpoints at the beginning of each month, Stations, eclipses, and major aspects, a graphic ephemeris, and more.

Retrogrades 2021 discusses Retrogrades and Retrograde shadows, and gives the entry and exit dates for each.

These are very valuable for anyone wanting to know the dates of major astrological events for the year.

Thank you Astrolabe!

Monday, February 1, 2021

My new ongoing column:
Insights in Western and Vedic astrology

Each week I experience many new awarenesses about astrology, both East and West, and so I've decided to create a column where I keep adding new insights as they come up.

I hope that you explore this column frequently, as I plan to post new entries often. I'm calling the column "Insights in Western and Vedic astrology". And I hope that it serves you well.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Wrong time zone in Time Cycles IO software

A close friend of mine emailed me her client's chart, which she had created in the IO Edition software from Time Cycles Research (which is no longer being sold).

At first, I just helped her with the interpretation, but I wanted to see her Vedic chart, so I entered the birth data into Shri Jyoti Star and quickly noticed a discrepancy in the calculations.

It turned out that the time zone tables for the UK in the IO Edition are seriously flawed, and the software miscalculated the chart by an hour.

(I hadn't tested the IO Edition for decades because I don't own a Mac to use for evaluating software. I have no idea exactly how bad the time-zone atlas in it is.)

So if you are using the IO Edition from Time Cycles Research, Stop!

It will miscalculate many of your charts.

Instead, I would recommend switching to Astro Gold for the Mac, which has excellent accuracy (because it uses the latest versions of both the ACS atlas and the Swiss Ephemeris).

If you already own the IO Edition, you can even get a very reduced "cross-grade" price here.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Journey into Vedic Astrology
my latest tutorial

I've just completed my latest article on Jyotish, which includes these topics: a brief Vedic glossary, the Grahas (planets) in Jyotish, and a large section devoted to Elucidating the Vedic Perspective, plus an example chart.

I hope that you are enriched by it.

Friday, January 15, 2021

A New Course in Vedic Astrology

I am currently studying with my Guru's protégé Steven Highburger, who is a truly knowledgeable and excellent teacher of Vedic astrology.

He is starting up a new series of courses, and said that those who find him through me will receive $100 off the first series.

If you're interested in learning Jyotish, I highly recommend him.

I am deeply grateful, myself, to be able to study with him.

You can contact visit his website to learn more:

Monday, January 11, 2021

Moon Phases in 2021

This YouTube video shows the changing lunar phases for all of 2021, complete with libration (the Moon's tilt), landing sites of the lunar expeditions, crater names, and more.

The only thing it omits are the two lunar eclipses of the year.


Monday, December 28, 2020

My review of Jyotish Studio 4

Early this year, I received and explored Das Goravani's Jyotish Studio 4.

I wrote a review of the program for The Mountain Astrologer, which you can read here.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Wonderful Planetary Images

I'm always on the lookout for new lovely images of the planets and recently found:

This one of Neptune

And one of Neptune's rapidly changing storms

Uranus with its polar icecap

An amazing video of Saturn being transited by its moons

And a video of the dust storms on Mars (the size of Mars changes because of its changing proximity to the Earth)

Friday, November 20, 2020

The best animated view of Mars rotating

I love to see the latest images and videos of the planets, and using image data captured by a team of observers over six long nights at the Pic du Midi mountaintop observatory between October 8 and November 1, a video of Mars rotating was created and posted on YouTube.

While the colors aren't as vivid as those from the Hubble telescope, the video is still a joy to see.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Vedic articles on prediction

Today, I wrote one new article called Sankhya Yogas and Divisional Chart Analysis and revised my article called When Subcycles really count.

They are not for beginners, but for those familiar with Vedic astrology and prediction.

Both are based upon the teachings of Sheshadri Iyer as given to me by my Vedic guru Hart de Fouw.

I hope that you find them valuable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

You can't run your Windows astrology programs on the new M1 Macs

Yesterday, Apple announced it is abandoning the Intel processors that powered Macs for so long, and is shifting to an ARM processor called the M1.

As a result, Boot Camp (previously included in the Mac OS,) and Virtual Box are no more. And even Parallels for the Mac is unavailable for the new M1 Macs at this point. (Parallels for the new Macs will be released sometime next year.)

This means that Mac owners cannot install and run Windows or any Windows programs on the new Macs that were announced yesterday.

So if you want to own a new Mac and to run astrology software, you will be limited to the very few astrology programs that are Mac-native.

Note: the only exception to this are the very few Windows astrology programs like Shri Jyoti Star that can run using Crossover (a commercial program that runs some Windows programs on Macs).

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Importance of Placement in understanding Jyotish

The positive or negative placement of a planet, house, or sign, significator, or Nakshatra can alter it's meaning and effects in a major way.

This new Vedic astrology tutorial reviews the factors to consider when evaluating a point's placement, and gives examples illustrating placement's effects.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Don't Buy a Microsoft Surface Pro X

Microsoft has developed quite a history of releasing versions of Windows, and now also hardware, that won't run most programs.

They started with Windows RT, then Windows 10 S, and now a computer called the Microsoft Surface Pro X that has a processor (ARM) that can't run most programs!

Astrology programs are mostly written for Windows, and will run on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 computers, but again not on Windows RT or Windows 10 S, or the just released Microsoft Surface Pro X.

It's a shame that Microsoft is creating so much confusion for people. Yes these smaller OS's are fast and use less power, but they lock you into apps only written by Microsoft and its partners.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Astro Gold 5 for the Mac has been released

Astro Gold for the Mac is currently the best Mac-native Western astrology program by far, and it continues to be improved and enhanced at a rapid rate.

You can learn all about it here.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Synodic Month

The Synodic Month is the time it takes the Moon to go from one New Moon to the next New Moon.

Here is a photo portrayal of a month of Moon phases. Each individual image is paired with another image separated by about 15 days, or approximately half a synodic month.

As a result the opposite sunlit portions complete the lunar disk and the shadow line at the boundary of lunar night and day, the terminator, steadily marches across the Moon's familiar nearside.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Life on Venus, Part 2 and the Equinox

Just when I thought I'd seen the best photo of Venus yet, a new article was published with a photo just as lovely if not better.

And my favorite Astronomy Picture of the Day website published an excellent photo of the Sun's path before, after, and on the Autumnal Equinox.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Life on Venus

This article in the New York Times not only explores the possibility of life on Venus, but has the best photograph of Venus that I've ever seen. Truly lovely!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Keys to Chart Synthesis

I wrote the original my Keys to Chart Synthesis article in 2003. When I reread it yesterday, I realized both how good it was and how I could improve it. I just added a lot to it so it's even better.

I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Updated : my Free Astrology Software page

I have edited my free astrology software page and added new entries too.

You can explore it here.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Astrology Calendars
in Western and Vedic astrology software

I've edited and expanded my Mountain Astrologer article on Astrology Calendars in Astrology Software to include both Western and Vedic astrology programs.

I encourage you not only to read the article, but to also look at my very comprehensive astrology calendar comparison table.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Two great freebies:
A great KP astrology program
and a complete Jyotish book

Krishnamurti Paddhati is a specialized technique within Vedic astrology that is most commonly used for financial prediction.

StarOne SoftCraft has released the latest version of their KPStarOne software for Windows, which is an excellent and powerful KP astrology program.

You can explore its features here and download it here and then register it for free here.

Note: the next version of KPStarOne will no longer be free, so act soon.

The Vedic astrologer P.V.R. Narasimha Rao has generously released his Vedic opus "Vedic Astrology: An Integrated Approach" to the general public.

You can view and save his book here.

Friday, July 24, 2020

My Mountain Astrologer review of Parashara's Light 9

It has been a while since I reviewed Parashara's Light, and was very impressed with the latest version 9.

I updated my Parashara's Light web page, adding the full review of Parashara's Light that I recently published in The Mountain Astrologer.

Remember to also look at all of the screenshots, as they help to flesh out the article.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Stunning astronomy videos of the Moon and of Mars in rotation

I just found two lovely videos of the Moon and of Mars rotating on their axes.

You can watch the Moon video here, and the Mars one here.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Jyotish study materials
prepared by Prof. Anthony Writer

I was "surfing the web" and ran across an impressive set of Jyotish lessons and articles from the Vedic astrology school Jyotisha Bharati written by Anthony Writer here.

There are very well-done articles on each of the Nakshatras, for example. Hint: a few of the links don't work, but if you google the name, e.g. vishaka_nakshatra.pdf, you will find it.

I am grateful to Jyotisha Bharati and Prof. Anthony Writer for posting these.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Over 100 new minor planets beyond Neptune discovered

As astrologers who have been following astronomy know, many minor planets beyond Pluto have been discovered in the past two decades.

In March of this year, astronomers at the University of Pennsylvania announced that they’ve successfully pinpointed over 100 new TNOs (Trans Neptunian Objects).

How they did so, and what they found, is described beautifully in this article, along with an excellent image of the largest TNOs.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

New Update to ACS Atlas

Astrolabe, the keepers of the ACS atlas (both built-in to Solar Fire and used in many professional astrology programs) have issued an important update to the atlas.

As they mention on their website, they discontinued atlas updates for Solar Fire versions 7 and 7.3 four years ago, which is one of the most important reasons to upgrade to Solar Fire 9 (which you can do here if you need to).

If you own Solar Fire 8 or Solar Fire 9, you can download the new atlas update here.

Making sure that you are using the latest time zone and time change information is essential to being able to create accurate charts, and I'm very happy that Astrolabe continues to improve the ACS atlas.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Websites and email working again
a video of the Sun's changes over a decade
and tips for astrology software owners

My internet service provider had a series of problems, causing all of my websites and my email to be down for a few days. I'm sorry if you tried to visit my sites and couldn't.

The good news is that all of my websites and my email are up and running again. I switched my website hosting to a truly green hosting firm called GreenGeeks. For every dollar of energy their servers use, they donate $3 to renewable energy. I think that's great!


NASA has released an amazing video of the Sun's changes for an entire decade, with one second of video for each day.

When you watch the video here, you will see Solar flares and other Solar activities as they come and go. Amazing!


Since I interact with astrology software owners on a daily basis, I would like to remind you of these important tips:

1. First and foremost, copy your chart files onto a flash drive regularly for backup. You never know when your PC will fail, and don't want to lose all of the charts that you've painstakingly entered into your software.

2. Also copy the downloaded astrology software installation file to a flash drive. If you have computer difficulties and need to install your program on a different PC, having the file at hand will make everything easier and faster.

I do provide links, when I can, so you can re-download your software, but can only do this for current versions.

3. When you first install your astrology program, reboot your PC before running the software. This can prevent a variety of problems.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Astrobackup for Solar Fire
Astrolog 7.0
and How to Approach Oud/Agarwood oil

I continue to upload new articles to my websites, and improve existing articles, often without any fanfare.

Some of my many changes are:

Astrobackup for Solar Fire: Years ago, Astrolabe created a free utility for backing up (and restoring) user files for Solar Fire. This utility makes it easy to copy all of the important files to a flash drive so that you can restore them if your computer crashes, or to a new PC.

The files that are important include all of your chart files, and all of the settings that you've customized, and all of the pages and chart wheels.

Astrolabe provides an instructive video for Astrobackup too. The video is a little out of date (the path of the user files is incorrect) but the software itself functions perfectly.

Astrolog 7.0: Walter Pullen created Astrolog decades ago before the Windows OS even existed, and it has always been one of the most unique free astrology programs.

It has so many features, including dispositor graphs, a Gauquelin 36 sector wheel, Esoteric astrology, animations, and much more.

Version 7.0 now adds a phenomenal time zone and time changes atlas, and even an animated gif showing the global time changes over time!

Thank you Walter for serving astrology for so long!

How to Approach Oud/Agarwood oil: As my regular readers know, I have both an aromatherapy blog and an Oud blog.

Oud is a magical essential oil used as a perfume, for ceremonies and spiritual rituals, and for meditation.

It is capable of expanding ones consciousness profoundly.

My latest Oud page focuses on both how to approach Oud and how to start exploring Oud.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Solar System and Beyond Poster Set

NASA has just released a full set of posters of the planets, planetary moons, comets, and objects beyond our Solar System. The complete set has 21 destinations, and you can also download any of them individually.

They are being offered in JPEG, TIFF, and PDF formats, and can be printed on any color printer.

What lovely and wonderful gifts to us.


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Updated two articles:
Ending the War between the Astrologers and
Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times

When I first wrote Ending the War between the Astrologers 15 years ago, the polarization between Western and Vedic astrologers was very heated. But as recently as January 2018, an astrologer (Glenn Perry) presented an ignorant and divisive paper against Jyotish to a Vedic conference.

I recently updated the article, which I invite you to read.

Perhaps the most important article I've ever written for astrologers was my Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times. It shows which techniques, like astromapping, should never be used for charts with imprecise birth times.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Gigantic Magnetic Bubble around Uranus

As NASA recently discovered, Uranus: "Not happy with being the coldest planet of them all and the only planet in the solar system to spin on its side (every 17 hours and 14 minutes), the “ice giant” now appears to be a “wobbly magnetic oddball” that’s leaking its atmosphere into space."

This web page shows a startling animation of the magnetic field of Uranus in motion, and describes the giant leak in its atmosphere.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

My new tutorial:
the Meaning of the Modes in astrology

I love the signs of the Zodiac, and all of their attributes.

I've just written a new tutorial: The Meaning of the Modes in astrology.

For those new to my website, I write and post new articles bimonthly on my Learn Astrology Free website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

My Shelter-in-place Astrology Software Sale

These are challenging times for most of us, and I'd like to make it a little easier.

I am offering -- your choice -- an additional rebate or a donation to the needy for every software sale I make.

You can read more about my new sale here.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Levels of Analysis -- How to approach a Vedic chart

When exploring a person's chart using Vedic astrology, it is very important to be systematic and approach each method of analysis one by one.

This new tutorial article shows each of the levels of analysis, and gives an example.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Using GC/MS to determine the quality of essential oils

In my aromatherapy blog, I explore a diverse set of themes around essential oils.

In my latest article, I examine the weaknesses of relying on the GC/MS method to evaluate essential oils.

If you're interested, you can read it here.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

between the birth chart and other influences
Part One

I have noticed, over my decades of giving readings, that who a person is, their gender, culture, history, etc., greatly influences how they embody their birth chart.

Here are some of my thoughts about this theme.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Potpourri of Interesting Links and Information

Over time, I find many websites and items of interest to astrologers and like to share them.

1. An incredible video of the far side of the Moon from NASA shows phenomenal impact craters and much more.

2. Time Zone issues in China.

I recently discovered that some astrology programs use +8:30 time zone for parts of China for earlier births, and others use +8:00. As a result, the charts are quite different.

And all of the programs that I trust use the +8:00, as does the very reliable, but uses the 8:30 tz.

Therefore, be very careful when calculating charts for people born in China. As Madalyn Hillis-Dineen graciously notes, "I wouldn't be too harsh about programs using different time zones in China, so much information wasn't available and there was a lot of variation from one place to another."

Therefore, astrologers should create charts for both time zone possibilities and then ascertain which chart better represents the person and their life events.

3. Astrocalc 6.5 -- A free program -- is updated. Astrocalc may not have as many features as a full-fledged professional astrology program, but it is both free and is currently being developed.

And it offers many quite useful features including harmonic analysis, mini Vedic planets in signs and houses delineations, Chinese animal compatibility table, progressions, returns, and more.

Recently, the author also added importing Quick Chart files, so that one doesn't have to enter all of the chart data over again.

I suggest that you look it over.

4. On Pinterest I stumbled upon a huge number of chart images and medical astrology images, many of them with further links.

A real wealth of amazing visualized charts and images.

5. Finally, an incredible video depicting Jupiter's magnetic fields as seen from Juno. Really mind-boggling.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

About Lunar Eclipses

After a recent Lunar eclipse, I decided to search online for images and information about Lunar eclipses.

I found a very informative NASA article here, and lovely NASA images of a recent Lunar eclipse here and here.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Astrological Calendars
my upcoming The Mountain Astrologer article

In about two months, my new SoftStar Muse article will be published in The Mountain Astrologer.

Since Jim Maynard has retired from creating his excellent astrological calendar, I have received many inquiries about the calendars produced by astrology programs.

I encourage you to get the next issue (April/May 2020) to learn about the calendar features of the different astrology programs.

In the meantime, you can look over my Astrology Calendar Comparison Table (created for the article) here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

A Lovely Photo of the Moon's Phases

Here is composite photo of the position and phase of the moon over 28 days, each photo taken at the same time each day at the same exact place. The photo was taken by Giorgia Hofer Photography, and is both truly lovely and instructive.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Astrolabe's 2020 Hot Degrees and Retrograde Shadows

Every year, Astrolabe gives astrologers valuable gifts. This year there are two: 2020 Hot Degrees and Retrograde Shadows.

The Hot Degrees shows planetary positions and outer planet midpoints for the year, as well as major events: eclipses, major aspects, and stations, and two graphic ephemeride.

The Retrograde and Shadow degree pages discusses the phenomenon of the retrograde cycle and gives the dates for all of the retrograde events.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Dasa Interpretation -- revised

I wrote the article Dasa Interpretation back in 2003.

In rereading it recently, I was surprised how well it still held up. But I decided to polish it a little, add a new section at the end, and reintroduce it.


Tuesday, December 17,2019

The New Janus 5.3 Update

Astrology House, the creators of Janus, have done it again! A powerful new update that's free to all Janus 5 owners.

Currently, Janus is the fastest developing professional astrology program, and each update has many enhancements.

You can see all of the improvements and new features in Janus 5.3 here.

And you can purchase Janus 5.3 at my discounted price here.

And learn about Janus and read my reviews of earlier versions of Janus 5 here.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Hype and Astrology Software

Finding the right astrology program can be quite a challenge, especially since software authors sometime embellish and exaggerate the descriptions of their programs.

You can read about this issue, and solutions, here.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Mercury transits the Sun

In three days, on November 11th, Mercury will pass over the Sun's disk for the first time in 13 years.

If you would like to see whether and when it will be visible in your area, when Mercury has transited before or will transit the Sun next, or more about the event, here, here, and here are three resources.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

An incredible video tour of Pluto

Here is an amazing video of Pluto, its moons, and the amazing variations in both its surface and atmosphere.

Besides showing more images of Pluto than any I've seen before, the author shared an amazing find: Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other, i.e. they can't look away from each other. Imagine the astrological correlation with Pluto's association with obsession, and perhaps the compulsive bond that can occur between people.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Optimal Use of Astrology Software

As computing changes, my foremost article on using astrology programs, "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software" has become out of date.

The arrival of mobile computing and apps, new kinds of hardware, and other changes motivated me to write a major revision.

I hope that it serves you.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A visual guide to the NOT planets

The Not-Planets: From The Planetary Society: Many large round worlds are not currently classified as planets: the solar system's major moons, the largest asteroids, and large Kuiper belt objects.

Here is a photo montage of all of the ones that spacecraft have visited, showing their relative sizes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

8 Reasons why Pluto should have planet status

Every astrologer who still considers Pluto to be a planet should explore this set of 8 photos. There are amazing insights that I had no idea about before looking at them.

Enjoy them here.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Quick Guide to Finding the Best Astrology Program

Finding the right astrology program can be quite a job, and so I just spent several days designing a web page to make the task much easier.

You can find the best program for a specific school of astrology, or for a sought-after technique, and see many unique features of different programs too.

You can read it here. I hope that it serves you.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Keeping Jyotish Pure

I've just written another essay, this time on what methods used in Modern Western Astrology shouldn't be brought over to ones study and use of Vedic astrology.

You can read it here.

May it prove useful to you.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Saturn and its Moons in Orbit

The Hubble Telescope website has released a lovely short video of Saturn with its Moons orbiting around it.

You can watch it here.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Where to get Vedic Astrology Books

It isn't always easy to find Jyotish books, but after much searching, I found an excellent bookseller here.

May you find the books that you want to read.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Tale of Two Skies

My latest tutorial is a short piece about the two Zodiacs.

I hold both in great respect, and see the wisdom contained in each.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How Pluto truly looks

We've all seen enhanced images of Pluto, with its colors exaggerated by filters, but now, finally, we can see what Pluto actually looks like to the naked eye.

NASA has processed all of the New Horizon's images to create the first photo of Pluto's true colors here.

We live in an amazing world!

P.s. Click on the image to see it full screen (and in high resolution).

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

IO Edition Astrologers:
Don't Update your Mac to Catalina?

I'm getting quite a few emails from astrologers who have used the TimeCycles Research program (like the IO Edition) for years and are shocked that TCR is closing its doors and that all of the software will no longer run under the forthcoming Mac OS update called Catalina.

One choice is to not update your Mac. That way, all of your 32 programs will still be useable. Of course, that means that any new security updates won't be installed, nor other new features. Still, it's a viable option for the short run.

I'm getting asked a lot what should Mac astrologers do for the long run.

One choice is to get either Astro Gold for the Mac, which I reviewed and offer at a discount here.

Another choice is to get TimePassages for the Mac.

And a third choice is to wait a few months for the much-anticipated release of Solar Fire in Mac-native format.

If you would like to be notified about the upcoming release of Solar Fire for the Mac, email me and I'll place you on a list to notify of future developments and its release.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Astro Gold for the Mac

The creators of Solar Fire, the Solar Writer reports, and Astro Gold for iOS and Android have released Astro Gold for the Mac.

The program is very easy to use, and keeps growing in capabilities. You can import your Solar Fire files, and swap files between your iOS, Android, and Mac devices.

You can read my review of Astro Gold, and purchase it at the best price, here.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The End of the IO Software

TimeCycles Research was the first company to ever create astrology software for the Macintosh computers.

Just this week, its owner, Dennis Haskell, announced that the company has closed, and he is directing all Mac owners to switch to Astro Gold for the Mac instead.

(See the above entry about Astro Gold).

Dennis, thank you for providing astrologers using Mac with the first program for them.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Stunning new video of Jupiter rotating

The Hubble Space Telescope website has just released a lovely new video of Jupiter rotating around its axis.

This is the sharpest video that I've ever seen of the largest planet, and it's incredible.

You can watch it here.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What is the right Zodiac to use for astrological work?

My latest article on my Learn Astrology Free website explores the issues around using the Sidereal and Tropical Zodiacs in astrological work.

You can read it here, and hopefully it will clarify your understanding of the conundrum.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Greatly improved search engines for my websites

One of the complaints that I've received a few times in the past is that the Search engines on my websites don't find every item.

I recently upgraded the software that I use to provide the Search function, and spent many hours the past two days re-indexing my two main websites ( and Learn Astrology Free) and improving the results of searches.

Now virtually every page is indexed, and when you search for a term or set of terms, each link will go to the section of the web page with the word(s) that you searched for.

[Note: occasionally, the search goes to the next line, so just go up one line.]

I hope that the improved Searches will make it easier to find what you want.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Analemma at Sunset

Have you ever been curious to see the Sun's movement from one Solstice to another? Marcella Giulia Pace painstakingly photographed the Sun from the Winter Solstice to the Summer Solstice and combined all of the images into a great montage.

Here's the video of his efforts, and here's an annotated image of the Analemma at Sunset perfectly photographed and filmed.

You get to see how high in the sky and where in the sky the Sun culminates and how far North it sets.

I really admire his efforts and the great results!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A lovely Solar System model for your desk top

I'm always on the lookout for items relating to the Solar System, and now, because of 3d printers and the kindness of NASA, there are models of the Solar System that are photo authentic available.

The best one I've found is here because it doesn't scale the planets to size, making most of them too tiny.


Note: The image shown on that page includes a stand. But the stand itself is a separate do-it-yourself project. You only purchase the planets and moons on that page.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The fastest growing astrology program

Most astrology programs are updated very infrequently, every few years at the most.

But one program, which includes a programming language enabling astrologers around the world to create their own modules and add them to it, is called PlanetDance.

Because of this openness, the program continues to grow and evolve much more quickly than any other program on the market, almost continuously!

As a result, PlanetDance -- which is astonishingly a free program! -- now has a huge range of features including Hellenistic, harmonic, Vedic, and more.

I just submitted my latest review of it to The Mountain Astrologer and I recommend that you read it in their next issue.

You can download the program and explore the amazing range of capabilities of PlanetDance here.

Monday, May 20, 2019

A NASA video of
The Tilts and Spins of the Planets

Most astrologers know that Uranus "rolls around the Sun", I.e. its North Pole is almost horizontal. But to see each of the planets (except Pluto) rotate and tilt is very informative.

NASA has created this lovely YouTube video of this motion, showing tilt, direction, and speed of rotation, which you can watch here.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

NASA's Mercury in Depth

NASA has created a wonderful page of information and images and a video of Mercury that any astronomer or astrologer would love to explore.

You can see it here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My latest tutorial:
The Importance of an Accurate Birth Time

My latest bimonthly addition to my Learn Astrology Free website is a new article on accurate birth times.

In it, you can learn about the issues with birth time inaccuracy, how the ancients compensated for birth time imprecision, modern approaches, rectification, and more. I hope that you enjoy it.

Here's the tutorial.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Improved tutorials
and Learn Astrology Free website

As many of you know, my Learn Astrology Website is my most beloved website. I post new free tutorials there bimonthly, and have been given great acknowledgement and praise for my writings by both students and teachers of astrology.

I looked at it last week and realized that it needed sprucing up. I added a beautiful image, updated the menus to include the latest articles, and edited and improved two articles:

     Can Planets be Strong in Dusthana Houses?


      Blending Astrologies: East and West
      Including Vedic Relationship Principles

May you enjoy all of the changes!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Top Astrology Programs article -- Updated!

It's been many years since I wrote my "Top 6 Astrology Programs" and it was due for an update, including adding an additional program.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

An amazing video:
Earth's motion around the Sun
not as simple as I thought

An amazingly detailed graphic exploration of the many complex cycles that make up the Earth's movement around the Sun.

Far beyond what most people know. You can watch it here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Infographic: Astronomy Highlights Spring 2019

Once again, the folks at universe2go have created an astronomical graphic of what to watch in the night sky this Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere).

They do an amazing job and you can see the new image here.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

My newest tutorial:
The Most Important Transits and Dashas

Many years ago, I wrote an article on what transits are likely to have the greatest effect on a person's life.

I have just written a much more extensive tutorial on the same subject. Feel free to read it here.

May it serve you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Lovely Jupiter Flyby

The NASA spacecraft Juno continues to orbit Jupiter and you can watch a video that has been composed of its images here.

I think it's amazing in both its beauty and detail.

Monday, January 21, 2019

What Planets Are Visible Tonight?
2019 Astronomer’s Guide to the Night Sky

Here's an amazingly wonderful astronomy website that not only gives you a guide for the entire year of meteor showers, eclipses, and planetary events, but also how and when to find planets in the night sky, a list of links to astronomical resources on the web, and more.

This is a lovely, well-written, and well-organized website and clearly a labor of love. I encourage you to explore it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Tonight's Supermoon Eclipse

Tonight there will be a powerful Supermoon eclipse.

There are many articles online about watching it:

Here here and here are three of them.

The eclipse is unique because it happens while the Moon is at Perigee (I.e. at its closest to the Earth).

Monday, January 14, 2019

The new changes and enhancements in Janus 5.1

Janus is currently the fastest improving astrology program on the planet.

As those following this column know, version 5.0 was revolutionary, not evolutionary, with both a completely new user interface even better than its best-in-class previous one, but with an incredible number of new major features, many very profound and unique to Janus. You can learn more about Janus here.

(You can download a free 30 day fully-working demo here, and purchase it at the best price here.)

I recently also created an introductory YouTube video of Janus 5.1 here.

But Astrology House, the creators of Janus, haven't rested. They recently released a new Janus 5.1 upgrade, and are hard at work on the next upgrade. You can see a PDF listing of the improvements and enhancements in Janus 5.1 here.

Look over the listing carefully. While it is a "no frills" summary of the advances in the program, they are frequently very significant changes.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Everything in a chart influences each planet's expression

I've just written a short article on how everything about a planet's placement will influence its expression.

It is naïve to think, for example, that everyone with the Sun in Leo is sunny, generous, and open.

Read the article here, and may it expand your awareness of how astrology works.

Many blessings to you all, and Happy New Year!


You can read my earlier SoftStar entries here and here.

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