New Moon On Monday NASA Discovers New Moon Orbiting Neptune

This composite Hubble Space Telescope picture shows the location of a newly discovered moon, designated S/2004 N 1, orbiting Neptune. The black and white image was taken in 2009 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 in visible light. Hubble took the color inset of Neptune on August 2009.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter/SETI Institute

This composite Hubble Space Telescope picture shows the location of a newly discovered moon, designated S/2004 N 1, orbiting Neptune. The black and white image was taken in 2009 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 in visible light. Hubble took the color inset of Neptune on August 2009. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter/SETI Institute

This composite Hubble Space Telescope picture shows the location of a newly discovered moon, designated S/2004 N 1, orbiting Neptune. The black and white image was taken in 2009 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 in visible light. Hubble took the color inset of Neptune on August 2009.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter/SETI Institute

Astronomer Mark Showalter, with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California discovered the wiley little moon by searching through Hubble Telescope images for moons. On July 1st he found it, you might say he found the New Moon on Monday (you’re welcome). This brings the total number of moons orbiting the Gas Giant to 14. Designated S/2004 N 1 it is estimated to be around 12 miles in diameter, so quite tiny. It orbits at around 65,400 miles (approximately 105,251.1 km) from Neptune, between the orbits of the two moons Larissa and Proteus. It makes an orbit in around 23 hours. A paper on the discovery is pending. You can find all of the details at the official NASA website, one of my favorites. This is just one more reason to be delighted by the knowledge we’ve gained from the Hubble Space Telescope. Long may she fly. K.

MST3K VS Gamera

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin.

MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin and movies

MST3K VS Gamera collector’s tin and movies

In 1965 Daiei Motion Picture Company created their own Kaiju to capitalize on the success of Toho’s Godzilla. The Kaiju they created had the form of a turtle and was postulated as a prehistoric turtle in the first film Gammera the Invincible (in the US); original title “Gamera” (in Japan}. The second “m” was added to the US title to help people pronounce it properly. The original movie opens with bombers releasing the giant prehistoric turtle from an ice field in the arctic. From there, amid destruction and panic the giant turtle with teeth and tusks escapes into the sea and heads straight for Japan. In 1985 Sandy Frank purchased the rights to the original Gamera movie along with 4 others and returned the first to not just its original title of Gamera but also went with the original footage rather than the westernized version that was released in the states in 1965.

Gamera remained a turtle throughout the 1970’s and has managed to survive and become a Kaiju icon in his own right. Through repeated television series, comic books and even spoofing on Mystery Science Theater 3000, the giant turtle has remained in the consciousness of fans. It even had a reboot in 1996 that was pretty decent (which I will review later), and it was in this reboot that Gamera became something other than a turtle, although still kept the form. My real disappointment with the third movie of this reboot is that they spent part of the film setting up for a fourth movie that was, unfortunately, never made. More about that When I review that movie another day.

I remember watching Gamera as a child and loving it. As an adult I find the MST3K spoofs the only way to watch them. Joel and the Bots got the rights for 5 Gamera movies: Gamera, Gamera VS Barugon, Gamera VS Gaos, Gamera VS Guiron and Gamera VS Zigra. The tin is really nice and comes with some cute little MST3K VS. Gamera posters. Just so you know, each movie is more ridiculous than the last, culminating in Gamera VS Ziegra where the kids take the lead and Gamera plays “xylophone” on Zigra in the end. These movies are some seriously deep hurting. Joel and the Bots keep it light and fun which, honestly is in the spirit of what the Gamera movies were meant to be.

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin.

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector’s tin.

It is a delightful set and a nice addition to any collection of classic Kaiju movies. Just, the early Gamera movies were truly awful. Gamera consumes fire and fuel oil to breath his fire breath and ignite his leg rockets. Gamera is a friend to children and that’s a premise that is strange and weird. Godzilla was never weaker as a monster and as a franchise as when they tried to go the “friendly” Godizlla route. I feel the same way fabout Gamera. The movies do capture the campiness and cheesiness of the kinds of movies and television shows that were popular at the time. Shows like Get Smart, which also debuted in 1965, Batman and Robin (1966) and Lost in Space (1965) were very campy.

In fact as a comparison if Godzilla (1954) is like Star Trek (1966), Gamera (1965) is like Lost In Space (1965). One is mostly a thoughtful treatment of the material and the other is just campy. True in the late 1960’s and for most of the 70’s Godzilla gave in to the marketing cry of campiness but not at first. Nevertheless some things you just have to love for what they are. K.