A B C D E F G H I-L M N O P Q R S T U-W X-Z
radix (radical): a natal planetary position or chart.
regnal year: a year in the reign of a sovereign, used in the oldest dating systems; e.g., 12 Hammurabi refers to the 12th year in the reign of Hammurabi.
resolution: the quality of being able to separate or distinguish close objects from each other. The ability of a telescope to resolve the component stars of a distant galaxy or a multiple star system is directly proportional to the diameter of its aperture, i.e., how wide its lens or mirror is. The unaided human eye can resolve objects in detail about 1 arc minute across. Telescopes in the mid-20th century were capable of resolving images to 1 arc-second: the size of a dime seen from 2.3 miles away. The Hubble Space Telescope increased that resolution to about 0.1 arc-second, and the advent of radio telescopes has allowed astronomers to resolve images as fine as 0.001 arc-seconds. VLBI (or Very Long Baseline Interfer-ometry) is a technique used by radio astronomers to obtain extreme detail. Instead of using a single radio dish, telescopes are linked together in arrays across whole countries or even continents. When the signals are combined in a specialized computer, the resulting image has a resolution equal to that of a telescope whose diameter is equal to the separation of the component antennas that are furthest apart.
resonance (see also orbital resonance): the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies, known as the system’s resonant frequencies. Rigid physical bodies (organ pipes, steel girders, bridges, musical instruments) have resonant frequencies that are the frequencies of those waves whose lengths divide into the length of the vibrating rigid body a whole number of times. The longest wave that that can so “stand” in (or reflect within) such a vibrating body is called its fundamental, or tonic, particularly in a musical instrument; it is necess-arily equal in length to the length of rigid body itself. The fundamental is the lowest sound that a vibrating body can produce. Radio crystals have resonant electromagnetic frequencies that preferentially amplify those transmitted radio frequencies that are in fact the broadcast frequencies that they were cut or built to amplify. Resonant phenomena occur with all types of vibrations or waves: there is mechanical resonance, acoustic resonance, electromagnetic resonance, and resonance of quantum wave functions.
retrograde: see pages 30 and 137. The apparent backward motion of a planet against background stars as seen from the Earth. Someone with retrograde planets is redoing those planets’ functions in a highly personal, individualistic sense. Things manifest more slowly for a retrograde planet; one is more subjective and thinks more deeply about it. The retro-gradations of Venus, Mars and Mercury, in that order, are the most significant, since they are retrograde 7%, 9½% and 19% of the time respectively. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not as personally significant when retrograde because they are retrograde 41-44% of the time.
retrograde orbit: a moon revolving around a planet opposite to the direction of the planet’s spin, evidence it was captured after the planet formed. 48 of Jupiter’s moons, 29 of Saturn’s, 8 of Uranus’, and Neptune’s Triton all have retrograde orbits.
retrograde rotation: a planet whose spin opposes its direction of revolution. Venus, Uranus and Pluto all have retrograde rotation.
right ascension: the arc on the celestial equator extending eastward from the vernal equinox to the meridian of the object in question in the equatorial coordinate system. This coordinate corresponds to longitude on the Earth. The other coordinate in this system is called “declination.”
rising sign: In natal astrology, the sign on the ascendant or first house cusp; in horary astrology, the sign rising in the east at the time in question.
rotational inertia: the tendency of a spinning body’s spin axis to forever point in the same direction in space (even as that body revolves around another body), as long as it is not acted upon by an outside force! This is why the Earth’s axis always points to the North Star, and how gyroscopes form inertial guidance systems for planes, submarines and spacecraft. Such vehicles constantly refer to a gyroscope’s fixed orientation in space to navigate and maintain their bearings (see page 42.
ruler: the planet that rules a given sign or house
ruler of the chart: the planet ruling the rising sign (ascendant) is said to be the ruler of the chart. Thus if you have Cancer (or Gemini) rising, the Moon (or Mercury) is the ruler of your chart.
ruler (house): A planet is said to rule a house when it rules the sign on the cusp of that house.
ruler (sign): A planet is said to rule that sign which typifies or characterizes its energy, and in which it expresses itself most freely and naturally. A planet is said to be “dignified” in the sign it rules. The Sun rules Leo; the Moon, Cancer; Mercury, Gemini and Virgo; Venus, Taurus and Libra; Mars, Aries and Scorpio; Jupiter, Sagittarius and Pisces; Saturn, Capricorn and Aquarius; Uranus, Aquarius; Neptune, Pisces; and Pluto, Scorpio. Aquarius, Pisces, and Scorpio were ruled respectively by Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars until their present rulers Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered.
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© Carl Woebcke, The Glossary: the Letter R, 1991-2011. All rights reserved.