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Mercury retrograde ↔️ 🔥 🚀

There is a warning in the bottom right corner that reads: *Warning: based on real 'information' from horoscope.com*. A stick figure astrologer, dressed like a wizard, is flailing his arms at a stick figure scientist. He says: Are you prepared for the frustration and terror of the next Mercury retrograde - the most nerve-wracking event in astrology!? She replies: Uh ... no ... it's an optical illusion caused by Mercury having a smaller orbit around the Sun than Earth.

The astrologer looks impatient and confused. The scientist continues: Think of it like this. As you approach a slow car on the highway, you can tell it's moving in the same direction as you. When you reach it and overtake, it appears to go backwards. Once you're past, it looks like it's moving in your direction again.

The astrologer starts shaking the now cross-looking scientist by the shoulders, yelling: But it's real! I'll wake up late, my laptop will be wiped and my car will run out of petrol! I can't sign contracts, make financial decisions, start a new job or use fancy kitchen gadgets to cook elaborate meals!

The scientist has calmly pushed the astrologer to the ground, he looks bemused and his legs are kicking in the air. She says: Dude, breathe ... the gravity of such distant bodies will not affect random objects or food preparation - this would go against everything we know about physics. The only thing 'real' about Mercury retrograde is that it's not important, unusual or interesting.

Sources:
1. What is Mercury retrograde? Horoscope.com. Available at: horoscope.com/mercury-retrograde (Accessed: July 2021).
2. Crockett C. What is retrograde motion? EarthSky. Available at: earthsky.org/space/what-is-retrograde-motion (Last updated: February 2017; accessed July 2021).
3. What does it mean for Mercury to be in retrograde? NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Starchild. Available at: starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question46.html (Last updated: June 2002; accessed: July 2021).
4. Kubota T. No, Mercury retrograde will not mess up your life. LiveScience. Available at: livescience.com/54675-mercury-retrograde-will-not-mess-up-your-life.html (Last updated: May 2016; accessed July 2021).
5. Mercury retrograde, explained WITHOUT astrology. Vox. Available at: youtube.com/watch?v=FtV0PV9MF88 (Last updated: September 2016; accessed: July 2021.)

Cancer 2021 🦀 learning 🚀

A stick figure guy and a crab are sitting looking at the stars. The guy says: I wish I knew the constellations, so this year I’m learning all about them.

The guy adds: Did you know that Cancer has a beautiful cluster of 1,000 gravitationally-bound stars known as the Beehive? It was one of the first things that Galileo studied with his telescope, around 1610.

The crab replies: I wish I was less susceptible to charlatans, so this year I’m following my astrologer’s advice to “learn to distinguish the genuine from the fake”.

The guy has raised his eyebrows and asks: What have you learned so far? The crab replies enthusiastically: I should drink more water, change my contraception and invest in space travel.

The crab adds: I’ve also learned I’ll be getting “big money”, including passive income from digital downloads of music, e-books and online courses. So I quit my job.

The guy asks: Are you rich yet? The crab despondently replies: No.

We now see a close up of the crab holding a bottle of serum and talking like a salesman: which is why this month’s comic is brought to you by Allies of Skin 35% Vitamin C+ Perfecting Serum, $118. Because Cancerians should ensure their skin looks its best with a healthy summer dose of Vitamin C!

The guy is talking directly to the viewer now and summarising the source material. He says: The astrology wisdom on panels 4 and 5 is from the ‘AstroTwins’ - sisters who claim their passion stems from a deep desire to create empowering media, particularly for women. Their ‘brand partnership’ page suggests there isn’t much they won’t do for a buck (“please inquire about our influencer rates and packages”) - including a week-long trip to Australia to promote an electricity bill plan (wtf). The wording from panel 7 is from Allure magazine … they have star-sign-specific product recommendations and ‘shop now’ links at the end of all June horoscopes, where they can earn an affiliate commission for any purchases. Because … err … I guess horoscopes and magic potions go hand in hand? We’re learning about the amazing-ness of space from great evidence-based sites, for free. It’s pretty empowering.

Sources:
1. McClure B and Byrd D. The Beehive: 1,000 Stars In Cancer. EarthSky. Available at: earthsky.org/clusters-nebulae-galaxies/praesepe-beehive-cluster (Last updated: March 2020; accessed: June 2021).
2. Cancer 2021 Yearly Horoscope. Astrology.com.au. Available at: astrology.com.au/horoscopes/yearly-horoscopes/cancer-yearly-horoscope (Accessed: June 2021).
3. The AstroTwins: 2021 Cancer Astrology Overview. Astrostyle. Available at: astrostyle.com/cancer-2021-horoscope (Accessed: June 2021).
4. What June’s Cancer Horoscope Predictions Mean for You. Allure. Available at: allure.com/story/cancer-horoscope-june-2021 (Last updated: May 2021; accessed June 2021).
5. The AstroTwins: Our Story. Astrostyle. Available at: astrostyle.com/astrotwins-our-story (Accessed: June 2021).
6. AstroTwins x You: Brand Partnerships. Astrostyle. Available at: astrostyle.com/brand-partnerships (Accessed: June 2021).
7. The Astro Twins: Fire, Earth, Air & Water: What type of sign are you? Origin Energy. Available at: originenergy.com.au/blog/the-astro-twins (Last updated: November 2018; accessed June 2021).

Gemini 2021 👯‍♂️ success 🚀

A cartoon robot with one body and two heads is talking to a stick figure girl. The robot represents the Gemini twins. They look a bit goofy. The twins say to the girl: To be successful Geminis in 2021, we’re following a highly technical program. The girl raises her eyebrows and replies: Do tell.

One twin says: We need to put green chilies on our food and wear high-quality emeralds on our ring finger. The girl still has her eyebrows raised.

The other twin adds: And on Wednesdays, we need to set a pair of caged birds free, and also offer green clothes or bangles to any elderly women in our house. The girl still has her eyebrows raised.

The girl looks unimpressed and replies: Wow … that’s almost as technical as NASA’s successful Gemini program that ran from 1965 to 1966.

The girl enthusiastically explains to the twins that: Gemini included the first US spacewalk. The first time a NASA spacecraft changed orbit. The first time two NASA spacecraft docked. And it proved that astronauts could spend many days in space. The program’s lessons helped humans land successfully on the moon less than 3 years after it ended. The twins’ faces are looking increasingly cross-eyed, goofy and confused.

The girl adds: If you want to be successful this year, stop reading weird horoscope sites and think of some practical ways to achieve your goals. The twins look at each other, still confused.

The girl grabs one surprised twin by the neck threateningly and says: And stay away from my pigeons.

Sources:
1. Gemini Horoscope 2021. AstroSage. Available at: astrosage.com/2021/gemini-horoscope-2021.asp (Last updated: August 2020; accessed: May 2021).
2. Hitt D. What Was the Gemini Program? NASA. Available at: nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-was-gemini-program-58.html (Last updated: August 2017; accessed: May 2021).
3. Granath B. Gemini Pioneered the Technology Driving Today’s Exploration. NASA. Available at: nasa.gov/content/gemini-pioneered-the-technology-driving-todays-exploration (Last updated: August 2017; accessed: May 2021).
4. The Gemini Program (1962 - 1966). NASA. Available at: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/gemini.html (Last updated: December 2004; accessed: May 2021).
5. The Apollo Program (1963 - 1972). NASA. Available at: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo.html (Last updated: September 2013; accessed: May 2021).

Taurus 2021 🐂 health risks 🚀

A cartoon bull is talking to a stick figure guy with a telescope. The bull says: As a Taurean, this year I’m at risk of goitre, abscesses and diseases of the genitals.

They swap positions and now the bull is looking through the telescope. The guy says enthusiastically: Check out this orangey star called Aldebaran - the eye of the Taurus constellation. In 1972, we launched a probe called Pioneer 10 that survived the asteroid belt and made it to Jupiter. We lost contact with it in 2003. It was heading towards Aldebaran and will arrive in about 2 million years.

The guy adds: By the way, you’re also at risk of me punching you in the snout if you keep subscribing to that star sign app. The bull has turned its face around to look at the guy, surprised.

Sources:
1. Astrology Online. Taurus. Available at: astrology-online.com/taurus.htm (Accessed: Apr 2021).
2. Collins Petersen C. How to Find the Taurus Constellation. ThoughtCo. Available at: thoughtco.com/taurus-constellation-4177764 (Last updated: Nov 2019, accessed: Apr 2021).
3. Zimmerman KA. Taurus Constellation: Facts About the Bull. Space.com. Available at: space.com/17101-taurus-constellation.html (Last updated: Nov 2018, accessed: Apr 2021).
4. Mewhinney M. Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends last signal. NASA. Available at: nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2003/03_25HQ.html (Last updated: Feb 2003, accessed: Apr 2021).

Aries 2021 🐏 love and fashion 🚀

A cartoon ram says to a stick figure girl: Did you know that people born under Aries are going to be easier to love this year and should take their fashion inspo from Stella McCartney?

The girl replies to the ram enthusiastically: Did you know that researchers at the Palomar Observatory discovered a planet in the Aries constellation that has four suns orbiting it? It’s really big - about 10 times the mass of Jupiter. This four-star system is called ‘30 ARI’ and it’s 136 light-years away. If you could look up at the daytime sky from this planet, you’d see a sun as well as two bright stars.

The girl adds with a smile: fyi, telling me stuff about your horoscope doesn’t make you easier to love. The ram hangs its head and looks a bit ashamed.

Sources:
1. Boland Y. Stars Special: Your 2021 Horoscopes Are Here! Marie Claire. Available at: marieclaire.com.au/2021-horoscope (Accessed: Apr 2021).
2. Roberts LC et al. Know the Star, Know the Planet. III. Discovery of Late-Type Companions to Two Exoplanet Host Stars. AJ 2015;149(4):118.
3. Clavin W. Astronomers Identify a Quadruple Star System, 30 Ari. SciTechDaily. Available at: scitechdaily.com/astronomers-identify-quadruple-star-system-30-ari (Last updated: Mar 2015, accessed: Apr 2021).
4. Zimmerman KA. Aries Constellation: Facts About the Ram. Space.com. Available at: space.com/17052-aries-constellation.html (Last updated: Mar 2019, accessed: Apr 2021).