Mars passes over Deneb Algedi in the morning sky May 3rd & 4th. Deneb Algedi is the star that marks the tail of Capricorn the sea-goat or crocodile (Makara in Sanskrit). Deneb Algedi is actually an eclipsing binary star. It is a binary star system because there are actually 3 stars here: Delta Capricorn A, B & C that orbit around each other. It is an eclipsing binary because these stars pass in front of each other giving Deneb Algedi its “variable” start status in terms of brightness – dimming when one star passes in front of another. Deneb Algedi is located at 29:41 Capricorn (Lahiri ayanamsha) in the 23rd Nakshatra Dhanistha, located from 23:20 Capricorn to 6:40 Aquarius in the sidereal zodiac. Dhanistha is one of Mars’s Nakshatras (along with Mrigashira in Taurus/Gemini and Chitra in Virgo/Libra). Above Deneb Algedi and slightly east is the star Sadalsuud in Aquarius, located at 29:32 Capricorn (Lahiri ayanamsha). Sadalsuud is a shoulder star of Aquarius that sits above the tail of Capricorn. Thus, both of these stars are the major stars are associated with Dhanistha Nakshatra. (Sadalmelik is the other shoulder in the next Nakshatra Shatabishak – which is why Dhanistha & Shatabishak are considered a Nakshatra pair).
Deneb Algedi and Sadalsuud provide us with an excellent example to understand celestial latitude, the north/south measurement above or below the ecliptic plane. Both of these stars are very close to each other in celestial longitude (east/west measurement along the ecliptic often stated in zodiacal degrees). If we only considered the E/W zodiacal degree placement of these two stars located at 29:32 and 29:41 Capricorn we would think they were right next to each other in a very tight 9-minute orb. However, the latitude of Sadalsuud is about 8.5 degrees north or above the ecliptic and Deneb Algedi is about 2.5 degrees south or below the ecliptic. This places these stars 11 degrees apart in celestial latitude and we find they are not right next to each other at all! As planets travel across the ecliptic plane, they only actually ON the ecliptic plane when they conjoin their own nodes, otherwise they are found above or below the ecliptic. Mars’s celestial latitude on May 3 & 4 as it travels through 29-Capricorn past these stars is about 1.5 degrees south of the ecliptic. This places it about 1 degree above Deneb Algedi and 10 degrees below Sadalsuud.
Dhanistha nakshatra has the symbol of the drum and is the “star of symphony” it is associated with Shiva’s drum as the Cosmic Dancer and Krishna’s flute. It is ruled by the 8 Vasus which is a group of elemental deities. The Shakti of Dhanistha is the power of wealth and fame. Deneb Algedi is one of the Behenian stars of medieval astrology that has magical applications. I don’t know much about that but my good friend Gary Caton does. Check out his post.