A Heavenly Menage à Trois

Jupiter and Io captured by space probe Cassini

Jupiter and its moon Io

A couple of weeks ago, Jupiter had a lovely menage à trois: a spectacular triple eclipse. Three of its big moons — Europa, Callisto, and Io (shown above) — passed in front of the huge planet at the same time….and like dedicated voyeurs do, the Hubble Telescope got it all on camera. Gas giant Jupiter has 62 moons, so eclipses aren’t exactly a special occasion, but having three of its four superstar moons show up at the same time IS a special occasion. Only Ganymede (my personal fave) couldn’t stay for the fun. Imagine: if you had been standing on Jupiter, you would’ve peeped three solar eclipses at once. Side note: the moon Europa is kind of a big deal. Astronomers think that there’s life in the incredibly deep oceans under its icy surface….life as we know it, that is.

See it happen! At 00:07 look for the shadows of the 3 moons on Jupiter’s surface.

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Size Matters

Artist: Ron Miller

Artist rendition of J1407b by Ron Miller

So you thought Saturn was big? Well, it is…but heavenly body J1407b is even bigger than our darling Saturn and it’s surrounded by 37 rings that are 200 times the size of Saturn’s rings. Sit with that for a second.

Galileo discovered Saturn in 1610; that’s old news. Now a joint team of American and Dutch astronomers has published definitive findings on J1407b, which was first peeped in 2012. J1407b is a brown dwarf (i.e., not quite in Magnum territory): it’s smaller than a star, but bigger than a planet. And if you’re in a traveling mood, it’s also only (!) 434 light years away, in the constellation Centaurus. (BTW, this is our first discovery of rings outside of our solar system.) Astronomers speculate that J1407b’s massive, 90-million-kilometer-wide bracelets were carved out by orbiting moons.

A little context: according to Dutch astronomer, Matthew Kenworthy of Team J1407b, “If we could replace Saturn’s rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon.”

J1407 in sky

Copyright: M. Kenworthy / Universiteit Leiden

Welcome to a new frontier: Godspeed

Well, hello there and welcome to the wonderful world of Godspeed.

Godspeed is a new breed of science fiction feature film that is now in development. Please join us on the exciting journey to putting to this very special film on the big screen.

Godspeed is a near-future story that pushes us to consider the notion that we are not alone in the cosmos.  The growing number of new star systems and planets being discovered every day suggest that this is more than a remote possibility. What if contact with other intelligent life is nothing like we expect? 

This project also challenges us to think about film in a fresh way, without the baggage of meaningless categories and divisions that get in the way of character, story, talent and the art of cinema.

On this adventure in independent filmmaking, we’ll explore the movies, the cosmos, the things & people that make our world special and SO much more…..there’s a whole universe ahead of us.

Are you ready?

PHOTO: Blueforce4116/Flickr.com