July 14, 2011

Monsters and Exoplanets

The other day, I chanced upon some illustrations of monsters from the 16th Century via Ulisse Aldrovandi’s History of Monsters (Monstrorum historia). I noticed that these "monsters" were often a mix of land, air, and sea creatures (hybrids), and that the monster characteristics are attuned to the properties of planet earth, of course. But the point is this: As residents of earthworld, humanity has only known the usual land, air and sea environments as we evolved consciousness. And as such, these characteristic environments reflected in the kinds of creatures and monsters that our primal minds conjured from our imagination.

Now, what if the human psyche gets imbued with knowledge of new worlds? And what if we've come to learn of new types of planets, not just the usual terrestrial mix of land and sea that we’ve come to know of?

How will knowledge of new worlds create new mythical creatures from mankind's deepest imagination? Will a new mythos emerge from a new form of exoplanetary consciousness? Do we need to occupy a new planet in order to actually create new myths and legends specific to that planet?

I'm on the lookout for new archetypes of "monsters" that must come out from this era of exoplanets. Sure, it's all just aliens, aliens, aliens. I'm sick and tired of aliens. But although i'm a big fan of Science fiction, I realize that something new should come out from a new level of consciousness brought about by the fact that our planet Earth is just one among an infinite variety of worlds. Can our new generation of imaginative writers create new mythic creatures a la the Lovecraftian Cthulhu or The Great Race of Yith but with a unique exoplanetary twist?

What types of monsters will the modern man come up aside from the cliche of invading aliens, alien-human hybrids, disguised aliens, superhero aliens, artificially-intelligent aliens, and so on? Or are these alien-monster archetypes prevalent in popular culture the final set of otherworldly monsters that our minds can ever come up with? Are they all we can ever have?

Let me know if you have some leads regarding this inquiry. You can reply to me via twitter, or simply comment on this post.


July 7, 2011

The Logarithmic Map of the Universe
[ stars with known exoplanets highlighted ]

Just a quick post to highlight the presence of markers for the known exoplanets within this "Logarithmic Map of the Universe". The stars with known exoplanets are in the middle part of the strip. [ click the links below to access other resolutions of the map ]

In a quick glance, this map gives an idea about how far away our currently known exoplanets are, compared with other objects in the known universe.

For example, you can see that OGLE 2003-BLG-235 is the farthest from earth, and the one closest to the center of the Milky Way compared with other known exoplanet-hosting stars.

The logarithmic property of the map is best understood by taking note of the labels on the left side of the map, where the units increase from kilometers, to AU, to parsec, to kiloparsec, all the way to megaparsec--from the bottom-up of the long strip of map, to denote the distances when you look up the sky as you stand on the surface of the earth.

Logarithmic Maps of the Universe
Going Up? (Starts with a Bang)