|About the natal chart calculated and graphically represented by astrological software.|
ALTHOUGH other programs are known to us, we would like to point out that, having purchased SolFire (hereinafter referred to as SF) years ago, we will refer to this program, which seems to be one of the most popular.
Those who have studied the celestial charts of people from the past, whose birth chart is proposed, will have noticed that, when entering the date, time and place, the data returned by SF almost never tally. Then, without further investigation, the differences are attributed to the inaccuracy of the ephemeredes used at the time, to the carelessness, if not ignorance of the astrologer, and more.
Inaccuracies, indeed, are always lurking, especially when one does not have a calculator to ensure, at least theoretically, the correctness of the calculations. Here, however, we wish to direct our reader's attention to the pivotal points. Therefore we will not question this or that domification, but we will speak only of Midheaven, indeed only of Midheaven; in fact, the oblique ascension of the Ascendant—as every astrology student knows—is given by the right ascension of Midheaven plus 90°.
Take, for example, the natal chart of Ennio Morricone, a well-known musician. SF provides the following data: born in Rome on November 10, 1928 at twenty-five past ten p.m. The coordinates of Rome used for the calculation are: 41° 54' North latitude and 12° 29' East longitude; certainly inaccurate values, but we must take them for granted here. The obliquity of the ecliptic (ε) in 1928 is 23° 26' 55”.
Let us proceed, then, to the calculation of the Midheaven according to the direct method. For this purpose we set up an Excel sheet in which we insert the positions of the Sun at noon on November 10 and at 0.00 a.m. on November 11, 1928. From noon to midnight the Sun moves from 17° 51' 19" to 18° 21' 30" of Scorpio. If in 12 hours the Sun travels 30' 11", in 9h 25m it will travel 23' 41" that added to 17° 51' 19" will give the longitude of the Sun at the set time, that is 18° 15' 0" of Scorpio; which result tallies perfectly with that of SF. Now, in possession of λ and ε, let Excel calculate the right ascension of the Sun: tngλ*cosε = tngα, which will result in 225° 47' 16" (SF rounds down to 225° 47').
With the α of the Sun we can find the Midheaven: after converting the afternoon hours into degrees (9h 25m × 15 = 141° 15'), we add these degrees to the α of the Sun, thus obtaining the α of Midheaven, i.e. 225° 47' 16” + 141° 15' - 360 = 7° 2' 16”. To this result it will be necessary to add the degrees of East longitude: 7° 2' 16” + 12° 29' = 19° 31' 16”.
And we come to the point. For the α of Midheaven SF gives, instead, 23° 31'. So between 19° 31' 16", computed manually, and 23° 31', given by SF, there is a difference of 4° (to be exact 3° 59' 44").
Well, if we convert this difference into time, i.e. 3° 59' 44"/15, we obtain 15m 59s, which is exactly the equation of time, as confirmed by the SF report (Eq. Time).
But what does this mean? It means that, while the position of the planets given by SF at twenty-five past ten p.m. is correct, the pivotal points are not, since they are given according to the mean Sun, not the true Sun.
If, in fact, from 22h 25m we subtract the equation of time—i.e. 22h25m - 15m59s—we obtain 22h 9m 1s. By erecting a new chart for Ennio Morricone at 22h 09m 01s, without altering longitude and latitude, SF will give us for the right ascension of Midheaven 19° 31', the same as that calculated directly. The interval of 15m 59s moves backwards the longitude of Midheaven from 25° 22' 46" (Ptolemaic terms of Mars) to 21° 7' 12" of Aries (terms of Mars), while the Ascendant goes back from 8° 15' 42" (Ptolemaic terms of Mercury) to 5° 8' 30" of Leo (Ptolemaic terms of Saturn).
In conclusion, the pivotal points given by the software are, for astrological purposes, useless, as they refer to the mean time, not to the true time. For Ennio Morricone, therefore, the correct position of the planets is the one indicated in SF by the chart report set for 22h 25m, while the correct location of the pivotal points, i.e. Midheaven and Ascendant, is the one given by the chart set for 22h 09m 01s.
This means that all the directions—not to mention whatever method you use for the birth time correction—calculated by the software are false, that is wrong. But what is extremely shocking is the fact that nobody—as far as we know—has ever raised such a problem!
We are sorry to say this, but you can flush most of your horoscopes down the toilet.
[Dorno, June 30, 2021]
© Franco Luigi Viero