Which Ephemeris is Best for You?

People often call up and ask, "Which ephemeris should I get?" Here is our brief guide to the advantages of each of the ephemerides available. (If you are still wondering how to make the most of your ephemeris, see the Info Special - IEPHX - for instructions about how to read an ephemeris.)

The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century 1950-2050 has the advantage of having an entire 101 years in one volume. Done for midnight or noon, they are relatively light weight and compact - considering they are over 600 pages each! They are also the most cost effective as you get a lower cost-per-year ratio than any other ephemeris.

If you erect charts "by hand," most people find the math easier with the midnight volume (working from a 0-hour reference point).

If you look up transits often in your ephemeris, some Americans prefer the noon edition because they do not have to "change days" when approximating planetary positions. (Positions in the ephemeris are given in terms of Greenwich, England or Universal Time - the 0-hour time zone. Eastern time is 5 hours earlier - if no daylight is involved. Pacific time is 8 hours earlier - or seven hours earlier when daylight savings time is in effect. With a noon ephemeris, you know that the planetary positions you see did take place earlier that same day in America. With a midnight ephemeris, the planetary positions actually occurred the day before in America.)

In either case, you must do a little math to get exact figures. Thus, if the Moon makes its last aspect on March 26, 1998 - a conjunction to Jupiter - at 11:02 Universal Time, it would be 6:02 am in New York and 3:02 am in Los Angeles.

Both 21st century ephemerides include daily positions for the Sun, Moon, True Node, and planets plus planetary ingress (day and time), dates and times for the last aspect of the Moon as well as its ingress into the next sign [the difference between these two is the Moon's Void of Course period], Moon phases and eclipses (by day, time, degree and minute in the zodiac), Chiron's position once a month, the Mean Node of the Moon once a month, and dates and times for planets changing direction (retrograde/direct) in longitude or moving from north or south declination to the opposite. Major outer planet aspects are also listed when they form the exact aspect.

People who wish to work with declinations (positions north or south of the celestial equator) on a daily basis prefer the decade ephemeris. The decade volumes also include a more extensive aspectarian.

Although most Western astrologers use the tropical zodiac, Astro offers a sidereal ephemeris for those dedicated to a sidereal zodiac.  The positions are based on the Fagin-Firebrace sidereal zodiac. Both sidereal ephemerides have extensive phenomena listings as well as daily positions to save the hassle of having to calculate with a tropical ephemeris and then make adjustments for the sidereal zodiac.

The heliocentric ephemeris has proven exceedingly popular among financial astrologers. People working with astrology and the Stock Market often use heliocentric as well as geocentric planetary positions for their forecasts.

Some individuals appreciate the fine-tuning they can get in their predictive efforts through working with the transiting midpoints as well as transits from the planets. If you want to check out the positions of the transiting midpoints without incredibly tedious calculations, just use Astro's American Midpoint Ephemeris.

Astro is well known for setting the standards of accuracy in our field. Computer programmers check their astrological software against the positions in our ephemerides because they know that Neil Michelsen valued pin-point accuracy - and would fine-tune incredibly to get the best possible data. Rique Pottenger - in true double-Virgo tradition - is carrying forward that dedication to utmost accuracy. Whatever your ephemeris need is, Astro can provide it for you!

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