Wednesday, December 5, 2012

io's shadow

From the NASA Space Advent Calendar which is HERE.

Jupiter's volcanic moon Io passing above the turbulent clouds of the giant planet, on July 24, 1996. The conspicuous black spot on Jupiter is Io's shadow. The shadow is about the same size as Io (3,640 kilometers or 2,262 miles across) and sweeps across the face of Jupiter at 17 kilometers per second (38,000 miles per hour). The smallest details visible on Io and Jupiter are about 100 miles across. Bright patches visible on Io are regions of sulfur dioxide frost. (J. Spencer, Lowell Observatory, and NASA)

"Now my whole life is this - to keep unencumbered.
The wind owns the fields where I walk and I own
nothing and am owned by nothing and
I shall never even be forgotten because no one
will ever discover me.  This is to me a source of
immense confidence." 
- Thomas Merton, Sign of Jonas


  1. You are definitely tapping a rich seam here, Beth!

    1. I didn't know that Merton's words would work here. I am often struck by Merton's desire to "disappear". Words expressing this "never even forgotten-ness" are scattered throughout his writings. (In fact, those were his last words!) Merton grounds his very identity in "nothing-ness".

      That little shadow (nothing-ness) of Io somehow evoked in me the sense of something (nothing?) very small moving freely (unencumbered) in a very large universe.

  2. Thanks for the link to the Hubble Advent calendar. The images are fantastic. And thanks too for the opportunity to ponder again the enigma of a famous monk.