Category Archives: The Whisperer in Darkness

How the Universe Expanded in H.P. Lovecraft’s Lifetime: Part 3, Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Hubble shears a "woolly" galaxy A previously unidentified “woolly galaxy” found by the Hubble Telescope (www.nasa.gov).

As we previously discussed, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness” may have been the “keystone” tale in which the Universe expanded from one island galaxy into one including hundreds of millions, if not billions, of galaxies. This expanded view of the Universe largely stems from Edwin Hubble’s confirmation that many observed gaseous nebulae are actually entire galaxies, as well as his discovery that the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. While “The Whisperer in Darkness” (written in early 1930) have been the tale where Lovecraft first introduced this expanding view of the Universe, largely through the perspective of the Mi-Go, the idea of multiple galaxies was firmly established by the time he wrote At the Mountains of Madness in early 1931.

As Dyer and Danforth were examining the bas-reliefs of the Elder Things they found a section that represented “…the preterrestrial life of the star-headed beings on other planets, in other galaxies, and in other universes…”. Thus, not only is a universe filled with galaxies but the concept of a multiverse was also identified by Lovecraft. It is interesting to note that At the Mountains of Madness was not the first reference Lovecraft made to more than one universe in his stories. This is not particularly surprising since as we previously stated before Hubble’s discoveries, the Milky Way Galaxy was considered the Universe; thus, one could easily extrapolate and consider the presence of more than only galaxy-universe. However, the concept of the multiverse and how Lovecraft understood it will be discussed in future articles.

lovecraft elder2 Elder Thing by Steve Maschuck

In “The Dreams in the Witch-House” Walter Gilman talks about how with the use of higher mathematics one can travel through Space-Time by finding a passage out of our 3-dimensional space-sphere and then re-entering at another point within our space-sphere. While the travel itself would not kill the traveler, one would have to make sure that the point of re-entry is favorable conditions for life (e.g. enough oxygen to breath, minimal amount of radiation, temperature concerns, etc.). Following this Gilman hypothesized that “Denizens of some planets might be able to live on certain others – even planets belonging to other galaxies or to similar dimensional phases of other space-time continua…”. Again, Lovecraft clearly embraces the idea of many galaxies in our universe.

the-dreams-in-the-witch-house-jhc-by-h_-p_-lovecraft-2-2120-p

In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” co-written with E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter is attempting to understand how there can be other forms of his “self” – human and non-human, vertebrate and invertebrate, conscious and mindless, animal and vegetable. He goes on to say, “And more, there were “Caters” having nothing in common with earthly life, but moving outrageously amidst backgrounds of other planets, systems and galaxies and cosmic continua.” Later, when Carter’s mind enters a Yaddithian wizard’s body, he has access to light-beam envelope technology that can transport him through space-time to other worlds spread throughout the 28 galaxies accessible to the light-beam. It is not yet understood if this limitation to 28 galaxies is simply a spatial limitation or if the Yaddithian technology to allow the light-beams to be transmitted is only found in these 28 galaxies.

lovecraft___zkauba__yaddithian_ii_by_kingovrats-d9sn1hl                    The Yaddithian wizard Zkauba by KingOvRats (www.deviantart.com)

In The Shadow Out of Time, Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee attempted to understand the information provided to him on how the Earth was once inhibited by entities far more advanced than humans, millions of years ago. Some came from the stars while others evolved on Earth from the eukaryotic cell lines bioengineered by the Elder Things. Some of these life forms existed for thousands of millions of years and had linkages to other galaxies and universes. By the time Lovecraft wrote “Collapsing Cosmos” with R.H. Barlow, there were a reported total of 37 galaxies in our immediate universe.

Finally, in one of Lovecraft’s last tales, “The Haunter of the Dark,” at the end of that tale when Robert Blake is recording his last thoughts will waiting for the Haunter to visit him during the black-out he writes, “Trouble with memory. I see things. I never knew before. Other worlds and other galaxies… Dark… The lightning seems dark and the darkness seems light…”. For Robert Blake, staring into the shining trapezohedron provided a more realistic perspective of the Cosmos.

haunter_RachaelMayo The Haunter by Rachael Mayo

While Edwin Hubble discovered that our universe is not limited to the Milky Way and that other galaxies exist, I believe both he and Lovecraft would be amazed to know that just a few years ago the Hubble Space Telescope estimated that there are nearly 100 billion galaxies in the known Universe. However, just last year Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field survey revealed that volumes of space once thought empty are literally teeming with galaxies. Thus, while the most recent observations estimate that the observable Universe contains approximately 200 billion galaxies, studies from 2016 indicate that this estimate is at least 10 times too low. Thus, even Lovecraft’s 28 to 37 local cluster of galaxies may be an infinitesimally tiny fraction of the true structure of the Universe.

p1639ay-goodss-160930 Areas of space once thought empty have been revealed to be filled with galaxies by the Hubble surveys (www.nasa.gov).

Next time we will discuss eclipses in Lovecraft’s astronomical writings and his stories. Thank you – Fred.

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How the Universe Expanded in H.P. Lovecraft’s Lifetime: Part 2, The Whisperer in Darkness

o-HUBBLE-UV-1000A view through the Hubble telescope of thousands of galaxies in one small patch of space

As previously discussed, while H.P. Lovecraft was writing his astronomical articles in the early 20th century, primarily between 1906 to 1918 (Collected Essays Volume 3: Science H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2005), the Galaxy was essentially thought of as our Universe.  However, on 30 December 1924 when Edwin Hubble publicly announced the discovery of other galaxies, the perception of our Universe substantially increased in size.  Searching through Lovecraft’s fiction, his collection of essays associated with Science (Joshi, 2005) and Joshi’s biography on Lovecraft, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (Joshi, 2013), I could find no specific reference to Hubble.  However, I have not reviewed all of his letters so Lovecraft may have mentioned Hubble there.  This significant change in our view of the Universe from an Island Galaxy in a starless void to an expanding Universe filled with billions of galaxies, does seem to creep into Lovecraft’s later fiction. Part of this is due to when Hubble made his announcement in late 1924 and part of this due to changes in Lovecraft’s style in writing and his subject matter.

In Lovecraft’s early tales, from 1917 to 1920-21, there is almost no mention of the word galaxy. The exception was a passing reference in “From Beyond,” written in 1920, where once the Tillinghast machine is turned on the protagonist was describing what he observed which included “I seemed for an instant to behold a patch of strange night sky filled with shining revolving spheres, and as it receded I saw that the glowing suns formed a constellation or galaxy of settled shape; this shape being the distorted fact of Crawford Tillinghast.” Even here the word “galaxy” is being used as a descriptive term or metaphysical point of view rather than as a purely scientific term.

It would not be until “The Whisperer in Darkness,” written in 1930, that Lovecraft would use the word galaxy from a scientific perspective. Indeed, this tale may be a pivotal point for Lovecraft in his view of both the Cosmos and cosmic horror and the word “galaxy” may be an indicator of this.

lvcrft_by_terrordelacomarca-d96cprzThe Whisperer in Darkness, artwork by Terrordelacomarca (www.deviantart.com)

The first time the word galaxy is used in “The Whisperer in Darkness” is in a letter Henry Wentworth Akeley writes to Albert N. Wilmarth, professor of literature and folklore at Miskatonic University. In it Akeley is documenting his encounters with the Mi-Go in his remote farmhouse in upstate Vermont. In the letter Akeley states that they Mi-Go may be talking to him, although he also questions whether this is a dream or if he is going mad. At one point Akeley states, “They don’t mean to let me get to California now – they want to take me off alive, or what theoretically and mentally amounts to alive – not only to Yuggoth but beyond that – away outside the galaxy and possibly beyond the last curved rim of space.” This description sounds like the old “one galaxy – one universe” hypothesis proposed by Sir William Herschel and discussed by Lovecraft in some of his astronomical articles (Joshi, 2005).

In sharp contrast to the first time the word galaxy is used, later when “pseudo-Akeley” is speaking with Wilmarth at the farmhouse he states, “There is nothing they [the Mi-Go] can’t do with the mind and body of living organisms. I expect to visit other planets and even other stars and galaxies.” Here Lovecraft is obviously conveying the multiple galaxies in one Universe view, which was firmly established in the scientific community by 1925. So, was this simply a minor grammatical slip up? Or in the tale did the Mi-Go reveal to Akeley and later to Wilmarth, that the Universe was composed of billions of galaxies? Remember according to Akeley the Mi-Go wanted humanity to discover Yuggoth, known to humans as Pluto, on 18th February 1930. Perhaps they were also revealing or at least confirming what Hubble found five years earlier, that the Universe is not simply the Milky Way Galaxy.

the_dreamer_by_brett_neufeld-dbhg32hThe Dreamer by Brett Neufeld

Later, pseudo-Akeley talks about some of the entities in the Mi-Go cylinders, stating that three are human, six are fungoid beings who can’t navigate space corporeally and two are from Neptune. He then states that the rest are “…from the central caverns of an especially interesting dark star beyond the galaxy.” Based on this statement this dark star is out of the Milky Way but not necessarily found in another galaxy.

It is interested that Lovecraft identifies a dark star. Based on Newtonian physics a dark star is a theoretical body of such large mass that any light it emits is trapped by its own gravity resulting in a “dark” star. Eventually, this term dark star was replaced by “black hole” (The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brain Greene, 2011). However, a dark star is also categorized as a proto-star that may have existed in the early Universe before conventional stars were able to form. This type of dark star would be composed largely of normal matter but would also have a relatively high amount of neutralino dark matter. Such dark stars would be composed of clouds of hydrogen and helium with a diameter substantially larger in size than conventional stars. Such dark stars would have a diameter of 4 to 2,000 astronomical units (AUs). Remember, 1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. In addition, such dark stars would have a surface temperature low enough that the emitted radiation would be invisible to the naked eye. Would such temperatures be conducive for the development and evolution of life?

MikeDubischwww.themikedubischsketchbook.blogspot.com_lovecraft-cthulhu-hp-lovecraft                                        Old Ones from a Dark Star by Mike Dubisch (www.themikedubischsketchbook.blogspot.com)

Back to “The Whisperer in Darkness” in speaking to Akeley, the human in the Mi-Go cylinder states, “Do you realise what it means when I say I have been on thirty-seven different celestial bodies – planets, dark stars, and less definable objects – including eight outside our galaxy and two outside the curved cosmos of space time?” This statement – outside our galaxy and outside the curved space-time – mirrors Akeley’s earlier statement in his letter to Wilmarth. While it may appear that Lovecraft is flip-flopping in the idea of the Universe being composed on the Milky Way or of billions of galaxies, I hypothesize that this was intentional. When a human speaks about the Universe, whether it is Akeley or the human mind in the cylinder, the older concept of the Milky Way essentially being the Universe is cited. However, when pseudo-Akeley speaks about the Universe, it is clear the Mi-Go know the Universe is substantially larger and filled with billions of galaxies. I think this conveys the fact that the Mi-Go have a better understanding of the cosmos than humans.

whisperer                              The Whisperer in Darkness (Nyarlathotep) – the pseudo-Akeley by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Next time we will continue to discuss how Lovecraft uses the word galaxy in his later tales. Thank you – Fred.

Beyond Yuggoth and Heading for the Kuiper Belt

mi-go1 Mi-Go by Steve Maschuck

Last year in July the New Horizons spacecraft passed by the Yuggothian system and is now currently heading for the Kuiper Belt, which is a disc-shaped region beyond the orbit of Neptune that contains a variety of icy bodies including dwarf planets (like Yuggoth) and comets.  The Kuiper Belt includes estimated hundreds of thousands of icy bodies and a trillion or more comets (www.nasa.gov).  These icy bodies are representations of a time when our solar system was significantly younger.  Thus, by studying these bodies we can obtain a better understanding of how the solar system developed.

kuiper_belt-1 The expected journey of the New Horizons spacecraft through the Kuiper Belt (www.nasa.gov)

In April of 2016 New Horizons obtained some valuable data on one of these Kuiper Belt Objects (called KBOs), named 1994 JR1. This KBO is approximately 145 kilometers wide (9 miles wide) and orbits the sun at a distance of more than 5 billion kilometers (3 billion miles). The data recently collected revealed that 1994 JR1 is spinning relatively fast, at a rate of once every 5.4 hours (www.nasa.gov). Additionally, the collected data has helped to dispel the idea that JR1 may be a “quasi-satellite” of Pluto.

Do the Mi-Go use or mine the KBOs? Do some of the KBOs have strategic, interstellar or inter-dimensional value to the Mi-Go in their travels between our solar system and the outer voids? Why is 1994 JR1 spinning so fast? Is it being used as a source of energy? Is 1994 JR1 an artificial structure built by the Mi-Go? As New Horizons continues to survey and collect data on the Kuiper Belt maybe these questions will be answers. Or maybe the Mi-Go will have other plans for the New Horizons spacecraft.

mi_go_concept_01_by_nathanrosario Mi-Go by Nathan Rosario

Next time we will conclude our discussion of Ubbo-Sathla. Also, if you are interested in more information on the Lovecraftian Solar System, please check out our second Kickstarter campaign for the Journal of Lovecraftian Science, Volume 2 (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081353216/journal-of-lovecraftian-science-volume-two).  Thank you – Fred.

Discoveries on Yuggoth, Part 3 – Solar Winds Interacting with Yuggoth

In March 2016 the journal Science released a series of papers on the findings of the New Horizons Deep Space Probe as it passed by the Yuggothian (to many known as Pluto) system, located on the outer rim of our Solar System. This is the third of a series of short articles that summarizes these papers. This third article is a discussion on the interaction between Yuggoth and solar wind, charged particles and interstellar dust (Science, Volume 351, Issue 6279, 2016).

first-flybys-pluto-planets01 Artist’s rendition of New Horizons first flyby Yuggoth and one of its moons (www.nasa.gov)

One of the main objectives of the New Horizons mission was to describe the interaction between Yuggoth and its outer rim environment. Specifically, the mission was to quantify the rate at which atmospheric gases are escaping Yuggoth. The New Horizons spacecraft has three instruments designed to provide some information on these interactions on the outer rim of the solar system.

Solar winds are the stream of plasma-based, charged particles (electrons, protons and alpha particles) that escape the gravity of the sun due to their high energy and flow away from the sun at supersonic speeds. Some of these solar winds reach Yuggoth and the instruments on New Horizons estimated that their speed slows by approximately 20% on the sunward (upstream) side of the dwarf-planet. This slowing of the solar winds is largely due to Yuggoth’s ionosphere. While not directly measured, it is estimated that the electrical conductivity of Yuggoth’s ionosphere, which is sufficient to divert the solar wind.

Pluto_gases A demonstration of the solar winds reaching Yuggoth and being deflected off its atmosphere (www.nasa.gov)

Yuggoth’s atmosphere is known to be primarily composed of nitrogen (N2) with minor concentrations of methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO); Yuggoth’s low gravity indicates that a large flux of these molecules should be able to escape into space. However, the cold upper atmosphere, composed primarily of methane (CH4), limits the escape of molecules into space. This substantially reduces the amount of material available for further ionization and mass-loading of the solar winds (Bagenal, et.al., 2016; this is the actual paper in Science). Additionally, as mentioned above, the ionosphere of Yuggoth can divert the solar winds away from the sun-ward size of the dwarf planet.

The net result of these conditions may be a somewhat stable stream of organic molecules, particularly methane, flow into and remaining in the upper atmosphere. Such conditions may provide favorable conditions for organisms that could feed on methane. Indeed, there are a unique group of prokaryotic organisms (bacteria) that can actually feed on methane and generate their own oxygen for survival. Such methane-eating microbes, called methanotrophs (Methylobacter oxyfera and M. mesophilicum), exist on Earth and can be found in methane-rich, oxygen-poor muds. Maybe the Mi-Go utilize a very similar mode of heterotrophy, collecting or filtering methane from the upper portion of Yuggoth’s atmosphere, as a source of energy. It should be noted we have mentioned this idea in a past article; however, the recent data collected by New Horizons helps to further support the hypothesis of a somewhat stable atmosphere environment above Yuggoth.

methanotroph.org_JCLara_UniversityofWashington                                                                                                    A transmission electron micrograph of some methanotrophic bacteria; taken by J.C. Lara at University of Washington (www.methanotroph.org).

An alternative hypothesis is that the Mi-Go have a symbiotic relationship with methanotrophic bacteria, possibly sequestering the organisms in special organs. The Mi-Go use the bacteria to harvest methane and utilize this source of carbon for energy; in turn, the bacteria get a favorable microhabitat that travels through interstellar space to other worlds. So if this is the case where could the Mi-Go have obtained some methanotrophic bacteria? Based on The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd edition by Daniel Harms; 1998) the Mi-Go first visited Earth approximately 160 million year ago. By then the Earth was oxygenated due to the photosynthesis of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) over millions upon millions of years. In fact, Earth became oxygenated sometime around 2.4 billion years ago (www.bbc.co.uk). Thus, unless the Mi-Go who first arrived on Earth intentionally hunted for methanotrophic bacteria in the anoxic (no oxygen) muds of Earth, it would be fairly difficult to collect these organisms, so maybe they did not harvest these bacteria from the Earth.

MiGo_JbLee                            Mi-Go by Jb Lee

Mars is known to have trace amounts of methane in its atmosphere so maybe the red planet had some shallow pools or mud flats that contained methanotrophic bacteria in its past, although based on what we know about Mars this is highly unlikely. In contrast, we know Titan, Saturn’s second largest moon, is the only moon in our solar system with a dense, cold atmosphere, primarily composed of nitrogen (which is necessary in the biochemical pathways of methanotrophy) with trace amounts of methane (www.nasa.gov). In addition, more recent surveys through the joint NASA and European Space Agency Cassini mission have revealed that Titan actually has lakes and seas of hydrocarbons. These methane and ethane-filled bodies may harbor a variety of prokaryotic life that directly feeds off of these hydrocarbons. If so, it would have been a simple task for the Mi-Go to swoop down and collect some of these organisms. Once they had samples, it would be very easy for them to internally culture these bacteria in special organs and transfer sub-samples to clonal off-spring as a means of surviving in the upper atmosphere of Yuggoth, feeding on the methane.

MI-GO_monsterbrains.blogspot.com                                                                               Mi-Go (www.monsterbrains.blogspot.com)

Of course to verify such hypotheses some detailed anatomical and physiological examinations on dead Mi-Go would be required and unfortunately, being composed of matter from beyond our known universe, such investigations would be very short since this matter experiences accelerated levels of quantum decomposition.

Next time we wrap up our conversation on Ubbo-Sathla and associated implications of time travel. Thank you – Fred.

Discoveries on Yuggoth, Part 1 – The Atmosphere

In March 2016 the journal Science released a series of papers on the findings of the New Horizons Deep Space Probe as it passed by the Yuggothian (to many known as Pluto) system, located on the outer rim of our Solar System. This is one of a series of short articles that summarizes these papers.

fungus_from_yuggoth_by_doctorgurgul The Mi-Go, artwork by  Doctorgurgul, are known to live on Yuggoth (www.deviantart.com)

Some of the major objectives of the New Horizons probe included a characterization of structure and composition of Yuggoth’s atmosphere and to determine if its moon Charon has a detectable atmosphere. New Horizons has a wide array of sensors and instruments to collect data on Yuggoth.  The collection of near-surface temperature and pressure profiles through a radio wave instrument revealed that Yuggoth has an atmosphere that can produce weak horizontal winds.  Through the use of an ultraviolet spectrograph nitrogen and methane were detected in the Yuggothian atmosphere; additionally the photochemicals acetylene and ethylene were identified. There is also evidence for the presence of some unknown cooling agent in the atmosphere.  Photochemical reactions of simple organic compounds have been documented in the thick, hazy atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and provide evidence for large liquid bodies (lakes?) on that moon. However, such photochemical reactions were not expected to be found in Yuggoth’s atmosphere.

image_3323_2e-Plutos-Blue-Skies_cdn4-sci-news.com The hazy blue atmosphere of Yuggoth may be due to tholin-like particles (www.cdn4-sci-news.com)

A thin but extensive, high altitude, cold atmosphere was detected by New Horizons around Yuggoth. The atmosphere has a bluish color, suggesting it is composed of very small, tholin-like particles. The word “tholins” was first coined and defined in 1979 by Carl Sagan and Bishun Khare in the paper, “Tholins: organic chemistry of interstellar grains and gas,” published in the journal Nature.

20150721_tholin_flow_f537_Sarah_Horst_Johns_Hopkins_University                                      The production of tholins in the Sagan Khare experiments (Sarah Horst of Johns Hopkins University)

In 1970 Carl Sagan and others ran laboratory experiments at Cornell University where mixtures of organic and inorganic gases known to exist in the cosmos were irradiated with various energy sources (such as UV light or a spark discharge).  The results were a variety of complex organic compounds, forming a brown, sticky residue on the treatment flasks. Sagan and Khare called this material “tholins.” It is thought that tholins may be an important component of the atmosphere of Titan, comets and even Earth’s ancient oceans. Tholins may be the precursor for life. Indeed, it may be tholin-like compounds that the Elder Things used to either create life on Earth or increase its complexity by creating eukaryotic cells out of simple prokaryotic cells. In regard to Yuggoth some of dwarf planet’s red surface colors as well as those found at the pole of Charon its largest moon, may be due to the presence of tholins. Thus, these organic complexes may be responsible for both the reddish colors found on the surface of Yuggoth as well as for the bluish haze in its upper atmosphere.

NASA_2D34B0C700000578-3265178-image-a-18_1444321249557 The reddish color on some parts of Yuggoth may be due to deposits of organic complexes such as tholins (www.nasa.gov).

In conclusion the New Horizons probe discovered a surprisingly complex atmosphere surrounding Yuggoth. The unusually cold and hazy upper atmosphere suggests a lower escape rate for volatile compounds such as methane, indicating a recycling of these compounds thus creating a somewhat stable atmosphere. Perhaps the Mi-Go utilize these compounds through a form of chemotrophy, where these simple organic compounds, possibly being created through photochemical reactions, are used as a source of energy through oxidation. One could image the Mi-Go floating or cruising the upper atmosphere of Yuggoth, collecting tholin-like particles by some currently unrecognized ventral organ.

lovecraft___mi_go__earliest_design__by_kingovrats-d4zzgrc Early interpretation of a Mi-Go by KingOvRats (www.deviantart.com)

The next article in this series will focus on the satellites of Yuggoth. Thank you – Fred.

More Notes on Yuggoth, Part 8

nh-apluto-wide-9-17-15-final_0

A view of Yuggoth from the New Horizons spacecraft. Is this what the Mi-Go “see” when they enter the thin atmosphere of this outpost (www.nasa.gov)?

Shown below is an enhanced false color image of the terrain of Yuggoth (to some known as Pluto). These 3_D topographic maps identify two mountains, named Wright Mons and Piccard Mons. The color blue represents lower elevations, green is intermediate and brown represents higher elevations (www.nasa.gov).

15-214b_0

A 3-D false color image of the surface of Yuggoth (www.nasa.gov).

Based on the terrain of these two mountains it is possible that they are volcanoes or more appropriately named  cryovolcanoes. Instead of spewing molten rock as volcanoes do on Earth, cryovolcanoes may spit out a melted slurry of material such as water ice, nitrogen, ammonia or methane (www.nasa.gov). Do the Mi-Go use these cryovolcanoes as a source of energy or food?  More to come from New Horizons!

 

More Notes From Yuggoth, Part 7

150911091217-01-pluto-0910-exlarge-169

High resolution photograph of the surface of Yuggoth (www.nasa.gov).

As NASA continues to analyze the incoming higher resolution photographs and data that are coming from Yuggoth (otherwise known as Pluto by most of humanity) more hypotheses are developed in an attempt to understand this dwarf world. It will take NASA a year to receive all of the incoming data (www.cnn.com); however, one thing is certain – Yuggoth is far more complex than originally thought.

The huge mountains of ice seen on Yuggoth may in fact be floating in massive flows of frozen nitrogen. During the “summer season,” when Yuggoth is closest to the sun, the frozen nitrogen may be turning to liquid and possibly gassing into the Yuggothian atmosphere. During this warmer season the huge chunks of nitrogen ice may be flowing or moving, similar to glaciers. However, during the “winter season” these mountain blocks may re-freeze and remain in place until the next Yuggothian summer season.

mi_gofull (1)

Sketch of a Mi-Go by Steve Maschuck.

In addition to frozen nitrogen, frozen methane has been detected on Yuggoth; in fact it is found all over the dwarf planet. However, most of this frozen methane is concentrated at the equator and a relatively thin is found at the pole. As shown below the ice near the equator is composed almost entirely of methane (shown in red), while the greenish pole is indicative of a mix of methane and nitrogen (www.space.io9.com). Ethane has also been detected on Yuggoth, which is probably produced by charged particles originating from the sun converting the frozen methane into ethane in a process called photolysis or radiolysis.

150715153321-pluto-methane-exlarge-169

Showing the distribution of methane on Yuggoth (www.space.io9.com).

Yuggoth’s thin atmosphere is composed entirely of nitrogen and more than likely originates from geological processes. In addition, while methane can be produced through biological processes, this compound is found, even if in trace amounts, on every planet in the solar system as well as in interstellar gas and on comets.

Maybe the Mi-Go biologically “fix” the atmospheric nitrogen on Yuggoth as a source of energy, similar to the way some blue-green algae “fix” atmospheric nitrogen through the use of specialized cells called heterocysts. Additionally, the Mi-Go may also use methane and/or ethane as a source of energy. Such a biological process can be found on Earth. Methylomirabilis oxyfera is a bacterium that can survive in inhospitable environments, feeding on methane and essentially “breathing” its own oxygen it produces as a waste product. Such bacteria need methane and inorganic nitrogen compounds to survive and are typically found in the sediments of rivers and lakes where oxygen is absent or very low. Such bacteria were more than likely very common on early Earth, before photosynthesis started pumping oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere. Are the Mi-Go using similar biological pathways to exist on Yuggoth? Possibly – the next article will focus on Venus as we go back to discussing “In the Walls of Eryx.” Thank you – Fred.

Picture1

A filament of the blue-green alga (also known as cyanobacteria) Anabaena. The clear cell is a heterocyst, where it fixes its own nitrogen from the atmosphere.

news_2010_146

Methylomirabilis oxyfera is a bacterium that can feed off of methane in very harsh environments (from Dr. L Stanndard, UCT / Science Photo Library; http://www.nature.com)