It was answering the call, the call that had roused it from a million years of slumber beneath the icy crust of this lonely little world under the watchful red glare of the massive orb in the sky.
So close, so close to the source of the call that woke It from its dreams on the ocean floor…
Several structures, far too regular in shape, marred the ice fields of Its home. The call, whatever it was, emanated from there, and was more than a little…annoying?
The sound grated on Its ears, or what passed for them, as close to the source as It was…
A nearby structure beneath Its feet was crushed in an audible groan of steel and plasticrete and sparks flew in the wreckage as power cables snapped and arced madly, several hundred tiny…things…four-pronged creatures of some sort scurried about, seeking to avoid Its massive bulk.
For such annoying little things, they were almost worthy of concern. But only almost.
It stepped on them.
They felt oddly squishy beneath Its feet. It moved on.
Its eyes, or similar organs, darted about, Its ears attempting to find the source of the keening wail.
The odd construct, disturbingly geometrical in shape, a cylinder, if It had known what one was, was being used to drill into the ice.
The noise was even louder now, enraging It, and It reacted by swiping at the irritant with a chitinous paw, satisfied after several attempts when the noise finally ceased with a loud…Crunch!
Hmmm? What’s this? Something there, not moving, just standing there, at Its feet.
One of the tiny four-pronged creatures.
Its eyes, and the eyes of the tiny thing met…the eyes of a mite scarcely bigger than one of Its claw digits.
It knew. It recognized this tiny thing from Its dreams across time, this one, with its defiant gaze, mouthing sounds It did not, could not understand, but It knew. The tiny thing stood there, as if resigned to its fate, but doom would have to wait.
The annoyance had passed, and now It was feeling a bit sorry for the mites, alien though they were. They were such small things, and as It looked into the sky, to see the red glare of the banded orb dominating the horizon, it thought of how small It may be to things larger still.
Shifting Its bulk, It turned around, away from all this. Another call, the call to sleep for another million years, as It knew years, drew It away from this odd blighted place of strange structures and tiny, defiant creatures.
The call to home.
So It left, and as It did so, the thought of finding a quieter resting spot came upon it.
A good idea, as It knew ideas with Its massive but ponderous mind, and one well worth the thinking.
Now this is neat. It’s a vid showing the relative sizes of several planets, including the Earth, as they would appear in a hypothetical sky at the same distance from that world as that of the orbital mean range of our own faithful companion body, Luna.
And no, Jupiter does not literally fill up the entire sky, as the video does not represent the sky in full view.
It is damned impressive though, with the size of our humble little satellite being used as the benchmark for comparison.
To get the full effect, I recommend watching this in Hi-Def fullscreen mode.
There’s been some recent research suggesting the possibility of a planet at the outer edge of the solar system that could be as massive as up to four Jupiters put together, and could explain the periodic rain of comets into the inner solar system… impacts which could have caused mass extinctions in Earth’s history.
It’s suspected to be rather cold, and thus difficult to spot in the infrared, but not impossible, and is thought to lie perhaps at about 30,000 times the distance from Earth to the Sun, itself a mean of 93 million miles.
This hypothetical world, dubbed ‘Tyche’ rather than ‘Nemesis,’ to distinguish it from an earlier theory, could gravitationally disturb the orbits of comets, hurling them our way, and this might additionally explain the elongation of the orbits of dwarf planets, and about two hundred years-worth of other anomalies.
It’s unlikely that these anomalies are just a statistical artifact, one of those involved in the study published in the journal Icarus, has suggested.
The infrared sensors of the WISE telescope might be our best chance of seeing this planet.
This almost reminds me of an old SF manga during the 80s, that had a story about the discovery of a giant planet at the edge of the system named Lucifer, presumably because by that time, the astronomical community had run out of Greco-Roman names to give planetary bodies.
It would be cool if we discovered such a world, and it might answer a lot of what are now open questions in astronomy and astrophysics.
Gods of Lovecraft…science is so cool.
- Gigantic hidden planet could be hurling comets at the rest of the solar system [Mad Astronomy] (io9.com)
- Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System’s Edge (space.com)
- Dark Jupiter May Haunt Edge of Solar System (wired.com)
- Exoplanets cast doubt on astronomical theories (scientificamerican.com)
- Exoplanets cast doubt on astronomical theories (nature.com)
hryzunik | June 05, 2007
From an original CD: JUPITER NASA-VOYAGER SPACE SOUNDS (1990) BRAIN/MIND Research
Fascinating recording of Jupiter sounds (electromagnetic “voices”) by NASA-Voyager. The complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the solar wind , planetary magnetosphere etc. create vibration “soundscapes”. It sounds very interesting, even scary.
Jupiter is mostly composed of hydrogen and helium. The entire planet is made of gas, with no solid surface under the atmosphere. The pressures and temperatures deep in Jupiter are so high that gases form a gradual transition into liquids which are gradually compressed into a metallic “plasma” in which the molecules have been stripped of their outer electrons. The winds of Jupiter are a thousand metres per second relative to the rotating interior. Jupiter’s magnetic field is four thousand times stronger than Earth’s, and is tipped by 11° degrees of axis spin. This causes the magnetic field to wobble, which has a profound effect on trapped electronically charged particles. This plasma of charged particles is accelerated beyond the magnetosphere of Jupiter to speeds of tens of thousands of kilometres per second. It is these magnetic particle vibrations which generate some of the sound you hear on this recording.
Visit http://www.inner-net.com/bmr/bmrpg2aa… for more sounds.
Mighty Jupiter of the thunderbolts…King of the gods of ancient Rome, and foremost among the planets of our solar system. It has in excess of 1,000 times the volume of puny Terra, 300 times its mass, and more than 2.5 times its gravity.
This immense world, archetypical among and lending its name to the so-called Jovian planets, has twice the mass of all other worlds in the solar system combined.
Its enormous Red Spot, only the most persistent and attention-grabbing of many that dot the upper layers of its atmosphere, could easily engulf two Earth-sized worlds, and has been known of since it was seen by Galileo Galilei in the 1600s.
This monster among the planets has been the subject of much speculation, some verified, some unresolved, much fictional, and a lot of it, not crankery, not charlatanry, but in the words of the late Stephen Jay Gould, nonetheless “gloriously wrong.”
Often claimed as support for the claims of pseudo-astronomy are the fact that it emits twice as much heat as it receives from the Sun, the fact that it generates considerable radio noise, a powerfully lethal radiation belt, and electrical activity associated with its weather systems and its nearby moon, volcanic, sulfurous Io (more on that in a bit).
Despite the often vociferous and observationally unsupported assertions of advocates of alternative cosmologies, astronomy requires no new paradigms to explain these phenomena.
They simply and elegantly result from the planet’s tremendous mass, gravity, atmospheric pressure, and the huge planetary ocean of liquid hydrogen, with a sea of still-denser liquid metallic hydrogen beneath it. The estimated temperature at the core exceeds that of the Sun’s photosphere at about 24,000°c.
This, fueled by Jupiter’s rapid 9.9 hour axial rotation produces a dynamo effect generating both storm systems with lightning-flashes 100 times as bright as any on Earth and a considerable magnetic field 50 times the size and thousands of times the strength of that of our paltry little planet.
It’s auroral displays are roughly 1,000 times as intense as those in Earth’s ionosphere, and are fed by ionized matter thrown off by nearby Io and channeled by Jupiter’s magnetosphere, also generating a massive electrical current through this same interaction estimated at about a million, million watts.
On top of all this, there are the Galilean moons, which individually were named, not by Galileo himself, who called them the Medicean moons after his patrons, but by a fellow who may have seen them prior to Galileo named Simon Marius.
They are four in number, and the smallest of them, Io, which would be a close match in both geological activity and makeup to the Christian concept of Hell, is about the size of Luna.
The larger ones are Europa, Callisto and Ganymede, this last larger than even Mercury, though like Callisto, made up of rock, iron and ice, and so less dense than the innermost planet of the solar system.
Finally, there are Jupiter’s dark rings, less spectacular than those of Saturn, the main ring extending out to 128,750 km and almost 7,000 km across, this having been unseen until the Voyager missions of the late 1970s.
These appear to be made up of matter thrown off by collisions between the tiny moons of Adrastea, and Metis, and the fainter outer regions of the rings from material thrown off by two other moons, Thebe and Amalthea.
But that’s not the reason I think we should explore Jupiter and its moons…
My hope is that somewhere in the Jovian system, we could find life. It would certainly be interesting if it could be found in the more thermally hospitable layers of Jove’s atmosphere, but failing that, even easier, perhaps we’ll find it on a future mission to the sub-surface oceans of Europa.
It would be very interesting indeed.
(The Rough Guide to The Universe: 2nd Edition, pp. 112-124 by John Scalzi; www.roughguides.com, 2008)