AstroDatabank notes that John H. Nelson was not an astrologer though his work was of great interest to the astrological community. He was an American radio propagation analyst working for RCA who made significant discoveries about heliocentric aspects between the planets and their impact on the quality of radio communications. The photograph below is of Nelson in his rooftop observatory in New York City.

Susan Manuel writes in HelioGram, the newsletter of the NCGR Helio SIG in May, 1992, p.5:

"While working for RCA Communications, John Henry Nelson became a heliocentric pioneer. Nelson discovered the correspondence between certain heliocentric aspects and the quality of shortwave radio communications. Mr. Nelson's methods, the specific aspects he used in his forecasts as well as the system he developed to evaluate the effect of various aspects on radio propagation quality (ak.a. radio weather) can guide today's heliocentric astrologers toward developing more precise methods of studying heliocentric aspects and determining their association with things other than radio weather.

"Nelson had to make four forecasts every day--120 a month--for RCA. Once he discovered the importance of heliocentric aspects, his rate of accuracy for a given month often reached 90 percent or better. Although he found some correlation between geocentric planetary aspects and radio weather, it was the heliocentric aspects that allowed him to make such consistently accurate predictions of radio weather.

"In determining which aspects were most important, he found two small angles and their multiples to be significant: 7.5 and 18 degrees. All of the primary aspects used by astrologers are multiples of one or both of these two numbers, as you can see from these lists: Multiplies of 7.5 degrees include 15, 22.5, 30, 37.5, 45, 52.5. 60, 67.5, 75, 82.5. 90 . . . 120. . . 150 . - . 180, etc., up to 360 degrees. Multiples of 18 include 36, 54, 72, 90, 108, 126, 144, 162 . . . 180, etc., up to 360 degrees.

"Nelson found the strongest aspects to be those long familiar to astrologers--the conjunction, opposition, trine and square, derived from dividing 360 degrees by 1, 2. 3, and 4. Of almost equal strength, and of a generally benign nature, were the sextile, semisextile and inconjunct. He found that other multiples of 7.5 and 18 degrees could offer support and confirmation for the major. aspects, but alone could not predict either good or poor radio weather.

"In 1967 Nelson discovered the 11.25 degree series of some value, but found it provided only a minor improvement in the accuracy of his forecasts. He used very tight orbs when considering the aspects of the primary and secondary harmonics--just a tenth of a degree. This would, of course, be necessary when working with so many aspects and when making predictions for four 6-hour time periods every day.

"His basic interpretation of the primary aspects coincides with what we know of them, Nelson found the trine to be associated with the best radio weather--a quiet, undisturbed atmosphere which meant good clear signals. The positive effect of the trine was so strong that it would often nullify a combination of negative hard aspects. Nelson did not distinguish between waxing and waning aspects. A waxing trine or square was given the same weight as a waning trine or square.

"He also found that good radio signals without any disturbance could occur on days when the only helio aspects within close orb were a semisextile or quincunx. If no hard aspect were in orb that day to interfere with the quiet weather, these aspects were as favorable as the trine.

"In keeping with traditional astrological lore, Nelson found that the hard aspects were bad for radio weather. It is important to note that it made no difference to his forecast whether two planets formed a conjunction, square or opposition. All three aspects were found to have a disturbing effect on shortwave radio communications. However, he found poor radio signals were associated with two, three or four hard aspects within orb on a given day, and even then a trine might negate the impact of the hard aspects or delay their negative effect until the trine was no longer in close orb."

Bill Meridian wrote in June, 2000, for this memorial:

"John frequently spoke to us in NYC at the Society for the Investigation of Recurring Events. He was very straightforward and down-to-earth about his work. With his telescope in his NJ driveway, he could predict magnetic storms with greater accuracy then could the US government.

"When asked by a listener, 'Why does this work?', he replied, 'I don't know. When you go to the pearly gates, you can ask the grand high muckety-muck.....and he probably don't know either.'

BIRTH AND DEATH DATA: AstroDatabank gives the following, rated A, from his memory and recorded in the APA file. He ws born December 10, 1903, at 5:30 AM EST in Gloucester, MA. He died on May 23, 1984, at 10:00 M in Whiting, NJ.

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CREDITS: Biographical information for this memorial came from AstroDatabank and Heliogram. The animation used as a background comes from Eye Candy. And yes, we know, it IS a bit much, but we are a Uranian lot and can't just use pretty backgrounds all the time. The photo was in the AFA Bulletin for July 10, 1983. This memorial was created by Donna Cunningham. Blame it on her.