Cosmological Moods

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By now, it’s likely that you have seen the recently released NASA images (taken by the Webb Space Telescope) of the distant universe—juvenile stars condensing in the Carina Nebula, gem-like galaxies racing away toward the end of observable space, and clouds of cosmic dust, lightyears across, forming shapes and figures so similar to the geological formations of our planet. In a (hyphenated) word: awe-inspiring.

But let’s take a step back and take a look at our own tiny part of the universe: the solar system. The famed astronomer, Carl Sagan, wrote that “we are made of star stuff.” In the spirit of that statement, consider the way we, as humans have projected our own emotions up towards the night sky. Think the Greco-Roman gods, named after the eight planets, whose emotions reflect their namesake’s appearance (i.e. Mars, the red planet, imagined as the god of war). Think Gustave Holst’s seven-movement orchestral suite, The Planets, ascribing music to define the mood and character of our planetary neighbors. And let us think about our small but important place within it all as writers who seek to capture the spirit of existence.

For this prompt, select a cosmological body, be it a star, planet, nebula, galaxy (the list goes ever on!), and reimagine it on the page as a character. You might, for example, follow the path of Holst, and describe one or more planets as the characters of a given narrative. You could reimagine the beam of radiation that a quasar emits as a tool a character might use. Or you could take a single entity, such as a black hole, and consider how that mysterious, secretive, and somewhat terrifying creation might act as a story’s antagonist, or even protagonist. In short, let your imagination wander!

In search of ideas? Check out these vivid character casts from Community Ambassadors i tried to be graceful, okay? and The Dying Rose.