The seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac, between 180 and 207.25 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personfication of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. Libra is the only zodiac constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history.
Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius. The sign of Libra is symbolized by the scales. According to the Romans in the First Century, Libra was a constellation they idolized. The moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded. Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign "in which the seasons are balanced". Both the hours of the day and the hours of the night match each other. Thus why the Romans put so much trust in the "balanced sign". Going back to ancient Greek times, Libra the constellation between Virgo and Scorpio used to be over ruled by the constellation of Scorpio. They called the area the Latin word "chelae", which translated to "the claws" which can help identify the individual stars that make up the full constellation of Libra, since it was so closely identified with the Scorpion constellation in the sky.
According to the Tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Libra when it reaches the southern vernal equinox, which occurs around September 22.
A hydrated amorphous form of silica its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%. Because of its amorphous character, it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike crystalline forms of silica, which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, rhyolite, marl and basalt. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.
The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light. Depending on the conditions in which it formed, it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the black opals are the rarest, whereas white and greens are the most common. Opals vary in optical density from opaque to semitransparent.
For gemstone use, most opal is cut and polished to form a cabochon. "Solid" opal refers to polished stones consisting wholly of precious opal. Opals too thin to produce a "solid" may be combined with other materials to form attractive gems. An opal doublet consists of a relatively thin layer of precious opal, backed by a layer of dark-colored material, most commonly ironstone, dark or black common opal (potch), onyx, or obsidian. The darker backing emphasizes the play of color, and results in a more attractive display than a lighter potch. An opal triplet is similar to a doublet, but has a third layer, a domed cap of clear quartz or plastic on the top. The cap takes a high polish and acts as a protective layer for the opal. The top layer also acts as a magnifier, to emphasize the play of color of the opal beneath, which is often of lower quality. Triplet opals therefore have a more artificial appearance, and are not classed as precious opal. Jewelry applications of precious opal can be somewhat limited by opal's sensitivity to heat due primarily to its relatively high water content and predisposition to scratching. Combined with modern techniques of polishing, doublet opal produces a similar effect to black or boulder opal at a fraction of the price. Doublet opal also has the added benefit of having genuine opal as the top visible and touchable layer, unlike triplet opals.
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