CHICAGO -- If you're active on social media, you've probably seen people talking about the Mercury retrograde and everything that can come with it.
Communication issues, canceled flights, car problems, the list goes on. But what is retrograde?
"It has to do with the orbital relationships between Earth, Mercury and the sun," said astrologer Brian Allemana. "Such that from our position on Earth it looks like the planet is moving in the reverse direction for a period of time.
The phenomenon can be compared to when you're driving on the highway past another car. If you're going fast enough, it can look like the car next to you is moving backward.
How does this affect you? Astrology is the study of how stars and planets affect humans, so when something like this happens, astrologers take notice.
"When we see a planet go retrograde, we look at that as a meaning that there's some kind of inner review taking place," Allemana said.
"It's really just an opportunity to revise, edit and then push on," astrologer The Rad Diviner added. "It's a great time to look for lost items, it's a great time to reconnect with old friends, it's a great time to review contracts or edit data."
This time of reflection could, however, come with some obstacles.
"When it's going backward it's going to affect anything that you can associate with communication but also as an extension of that - things like technology and even travel," astrologer Barry Kerr said.
Allemana agreed, saying Mercury retrograde is an astrological event that's typically pretty obvious for people to see in action.
"If you really pay attention during the three weeks that you have those days where it's like one thing after another, things breaking down or not going the way you intended them to go," Allemana said.
But Mercury isn't the only planet to retrograde; they all do. So why do we make such a big deal about this one?
"Mercury and Earth have a very 'clicks teeth' relationship. Astrologically speaking, Mercury's impacts are really strongly felt here," The Rad Diviner said.
Mercury also retrogrades several times during the year.
The first Mercury retrograde of 2019 was in March. The second began July 7 and will end July 31. Another is expected to occur October 31.
But the world isn't ending every time Mercury retrogrades, or any other planet for that matter. And whether you believe in astrology or not, the lessons you can learn from this astronomical time can be useful.
"No one is out here saying Mercury is retrograde, therefore this will happen. That's like saying 'it's raining, therefore, you will have a baby today' - that doesn't happen," The Rad Diviner said. "But people are like, it's raining so maybe I should take an umbrella. It's kind of like here's what to be on guard for and be all the way prepped up."
Mercury Retrograde: What it is and how it affects you