On the strength of tight versus wide and applying versus separating aspects

by Kyösti Tarvainen, PhD

Correlation, Vol. 35(1) 2022, pp 17-23


Many astrologers have stated that tight aspects (with narrow orbs) are stronger than aspects with wide orbs. But in four sets of data (altogether over 50,000 charts), no consistent support was found for this claim. Concerning another aspect classification, many astrologers use a larger orb for applying aspects than for separating ones. These aspect types are defined by Hand (1981) as follows. When the faster planet is moving towards the exact aspect but has not yet reached it, the aspect is said to be applying; when the faster planet has already made the exact aspect and is moving away from it, the aspect is said to be separating. Based on four applications, the maximum orb for applying natal aspects indeed seems to be 1−2° wider than for separating ones. A straightforward simulation procedure is applied to evaluate how much the use of noontime weakens results in two sets of data where the time of birth is unknown.