Friday, 8 May 2015

Jupiter's moon Ganymede 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 Ganymede, 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 own amazing solar system. 

Here are a few facts about Ganymede, courtesy of Wiki:
  • It's the largest moon in the solar system and the largest in Jupiter's system.
  • It is one of the four original moons discovered by Gallileo (thus, referred to a a Gallilean moon).
  • It is the third farthest from Jupiter of the four Galilean moons.  It is easy to find in a smaller telescope.
  • It has its own magnetosphere (magnetic field), the only moon known to have one. This causes auroras around the poles (northern/southern lights).
  • It participates in a 1:2:4 orbital resonance with the two Galilean moons closest to Jupiter, Io and Europa. That means, for every one time Ganymede goes around Jupiter, Europa goes around twice and Io goes around four times.
  • The orbital resonances among these moons is the main reason why they have internal oceans. The flexing of the moons, due to the tidal interactions caused by the resonance, create heat, which keeps the oceans liquid. These are many kilometers underneath an icy crust, which acts as an insulating blanket.
  • Having said that, for Ganymede, radiogenic (radioactive elements) heating is important as well.
  • Ganymede is actually larger than Mercury, but only has about half of that planet’s mass (Mercury is much denser and has a large iron core).
  • That being said, Ganymede also has a liquid iron-rich core.
  • It is also composed or silicate rock and ice (thus it is less dense than Mercury).
  • It has an internal ocean, which probably contains more water than the Earth’s oceans.
  • About one third of it is heavily cratered and dark, with the rest lighter. The lighter regions are evidence of tectonic activity, related to tidal heating.
  • It is mostly rock and ice, and has a subsurface saltwater ocean.
  • 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 tidally locked with Jupiter, like our moon is with Earth.  That means the same side always faces the planet.
  • Its albedo is about 43% (about 43% of the light falling on it is reflected). 
Here's a recent picture of Ganymede, taken by NASA's Galileo probe in 1987.

And here is Ganymede, standing in for Kordea's moon, Lina, as it is put in peril in The Witches' Stones Book 2: Love and Intrigue Under the Seven Moons of Kordea.
And don't forget, "On the Road with Bronco Billy - A Trucking Journal" is free this weekend on Amazon.  It may be the best short book about a truck driver and statistician taking a road trip through western North America that you will ever read.  :)

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