Have you ever looked at the Voorwerp and said to yourself, “Doesn’t that look like the Swamp Thing?” Or maybe you’ve seen Kermit the Frog dancing, or a maybe you see foliage run amok. There is just something about the Voorwerp that make me, for one, want to anthropomorphize it as a monster, and I’m betting some of you have had the same moment of Pareidolia.
The neat thing about the Voorwerp is it not only looks like the character from a bad monster movie, but it is a real-life monster of a problem that has played a starring role in an intellectual adventure. While astronomy doesn’t normally get turned into summer block buster movies, this story just might make it with a rating of “S: Judged appropriate for people who contribute to science in their spare time.”
Image with me – you go into a movie theatre and hear booming from the speakers: “It came on the 13th; Monday the 13th. And one woman dared to ask ‘What is that stuff?'” Suddenly the camera zooms in on the Voorwerp. Then this imaginary movie trailer has us cutting between action adventure shots of astronomers racing for telescopes (you see a car racing across the desert with domes in the distance), the Swift space telescope repointing, and Zoo Keepers conferring in solemn tones as they gather around a computer. Bill Keel (played by Martin Sheen?) asks, “Can we get Hubble time?” and someone played by the Hollywood hunk of your choice responds in an overly dramatic tone, “I don’t know, but we have to try – I want answers – and we can handle the truth.”
Ok, so maybe the idea is pure cheese, and no Hollywood director (or college film major) is likely to shoot this flick, but there is still a story here that is worth sharing with the world.
And the STScI agrees with us. They’ve funded the creation of a digitized comic book (a web comic) to tell the story of Hanny’s discovery of the Voorwerp and the scientific adventure all of us have gone on as the truth has been sought in all sorts of wavelengths using a myriad of telescopes.
This comic is being written under the guidance of Kelly McCullough (author of the Ravirn series) by a team of volunteer writers at the CONvergence Con outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The writers will work in close collaboration with Bill Keel and many other Zoo Keepers to make sure they get the story completely right.
Want to watch? Want to hang out with Zoo Keepers (list of attendees to come) at a cool event? Then join us in Bloomington, Minnesota, July 1-4, 2010. The event does cost money, unfortunately, and you have to register (My turn to bring the cookies). The cost of registration goes up May 15, so if you’re interested, please register ASAP for lowest prices.
We’ll be releasing the comic at Dragon*Con in the fall. We’d love it if you’d consider coming and being part of the celebration.