Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The moon Callisto and Love and Intrigue Under the Seven Moves of Kordea

Helena Puumala's SF Romance series features the planet Kordea, home to a race of beautiful and powerful psychic aliens, known as the Witches of Kordea.  The planet has seven moons, an extraordinary arrangement for a terrestrial sized planet in its star's habitable zone, as is noted in Book 1, which you can get from the link below :).


In fact, the moons of Kordea become a central element in Book 2, soon to come out.  The cover below actually borrows the moon Callisto, one of the moons of Jupiter.  I will by testing out different moons for the cover of the Witches' Stones Book 2, so this gives me the opportunity to do a mini-tour of some of the major moons of our solar system.

Here are a few facts about Callisto, courtesy of Wiki:
  • It's the third largest moon in the solar system and the second in Jupitier's system.
  • It is one of the original moons discovered by Gallileo (thus, referred to a a Gallilean moon).
  • It is the farthest from Jupiter of the four Galilean moons.  It is easy to find in a smaller telescope.  The distance from Jupiter means it has lower radiation levels than the other moons (related to Jupiter's magnetic field), and therefore might make a good base for human exploration.
  • It is mostly rock and ice, and it may have a subsurface ocean (100 km or so deep).  There might be life in that ocean, though more hope is held out for its neighbor Europa in that regard.  The presence of a deep ocean is inferred from its interactions with Jupiter's magnetic field, best explained by a highly conductive fluid at depth.
  • It is heavily cratered, and the surface is old, with no signs of tectonic activity.
  • The shiny bits are probably frost.  The dark parts include organic (carbon) compounds.
  • It is tidally locked with Jupiter, like our moon is with Earth.  That means the same side always faces the planet.
  • Its albedo is about 20% (about 20% of the light falling on it is reflected). 
Here's a recent picture of Callisto.  It isn't the greatest picture ever taken of Callisto, but it was taken by NASA's New Horizons probe, on its way to Pluto (this summer).  That's just too awesome to pass up.



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