A B C D E F G H I-L M N O P Q R S T U-W X-Z
umbra (Latin “shadow”): the darkest part of the shadow cast by a celestial body blocking the light of the Sun. The Moon’s umbra on Earth is experienced by observers in it as a total eclipse of the Sun (see page 130).The penumbra is that part of the shadow blocking only a portion of the light: a partial eclipse.
unafflicted: not afflicted; see “afflicted.”
UT (Universal Time): a timescale based on the true rotation of the Earth, it is a more accurate form of Greenwich Mean Time based on sidereal rather than solar time but with a scaling factor and other adjustments making it closer to solar time.
vernal equinox: the point on the ecliptic at which the Sun is in the plane of the Earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length all over the Earth. The Vernal Equinox defines 0° of the sign Aries, or the beginning of the astrological cycle.
vertical circle: a plane perpendicular to the horizon and passing through the center of the Earth. The meridian is a vertical circle passing through the north and south points on the horizon; whereas the prime vertical is a vertical circle that passes through the east and west points on the horizon.
Vestal Virgins (L. sacerdos vestalis): the celibate priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. They maintained the sacred fire of Vesta, a duty which in ancient Rome brought great honor and privilege as they were the only female priests in the Roman religious system (see page 148).
water: one of the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) by which signs and houses are categorized. In general, the element of water represents emotion, responsiveness, instability and change. For its application in the signs and houses, see below. Liquids are that state of matter (and the counterpart of the element water) in which the average vibrational energy of the constituent atoms (or molecules) exceeds their bonding energy. See “plasma” for an explanation of temperature, absolute zero, and the four states of matter.
water house: the fourth, eighth, and twelfth houses; those houses that have the same ordinal numbers as the three water signs.
water sign: The responsive, unstable, fertile and flexible element exemplified by the water signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
weak: a planet in detriment, fall, or the corresponding house (by number).
well-aspected: a planet with trines or sextiles, none or only weak squares or oppositions, AND not conjunct Saturn or an outer planet (unless that outer planet is its higher octave).
Wright, Michael: Former curator of Mechanical Engineering at the London Science Museum and now of The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, Dr. Wright spent many years examining the Antikythera Mechanism. In 2006, with the aid of linear X-ray tomography he created the working model shown on pages 22-24.
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© Carl Woebcke, The Glossary: the Letters U - W, 1991-2011. All rights reserved.