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Guide to Space, Planets and the Rest of the Universe


Seven planet solar system discovered

Scientists using N.A.S.A.`s Spitzer space telescope have discovered a solar system in the constellation of Aquarius that contains seven planets which is the most yet. The star is called Trappist-1 which is a small low-mass planet. Cosmically speaking, it is quite close, only a mere 40 Light Years from us. The nearest exoplanet from us is a mere 4 Light Years orbiting the star Proxima Centauri.

The planets are close to the star which means a couple are likely to be hospitable as they orbit close or within the Goldilocks Zone, the area which is not too cold and not too warm for life to exist. When the James Webb telescope goes into orbit, it is expected to be able to detect ozone in one of the planets atmosphere. The scientists have creates a Website for their find which they detail why they chose the star. On one of the reasons for choosing the small stars is that the planets effect on the star is more noticable than those of larger stars. There are only two major Alpha stars that I know of that have stars, they are Hamal (Aries) and Aldebaran (Taurus), there could be other but am not aware.

Comments2/22/2017 8:27:44 PM

First Han Solo Movie Picture Released

We may have a long way to go but the first picture of the cast of the Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich) anthology Star Wars - Han Solo Movie has been released. The picture shows the inside of the Millenium Falcon with some known and unknown characters.

Rumours of the film will be how he left the Imperial Navy, befriended the hairy wookie Chewbacca, won the falcon from Lando Calrissian (played by Donald Glover). The female in the middle, Emilia Clarke who is in the middle of the picture is probably the lead female as its been known for some time that she`ll be in it and they do tend to cast the lead characters first. As for Pheobe Waller-Bridge`s role is unknown but given the role of previous females in the past films, it won`t be big. The role is rumoured to be a C.G.I. character along the lines of Maz Kanata from Episode VII. Woody is rumoured to be a mentor to Han Solo.

The two men, the one below Woody and the man beside Donald are the directors, Chris Miller and Phil Lord because this film needs two to helm it. Another cast member who has been announced but not in the picture is Thandie Newton, a British actress who has been in many productions including Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise.

First picture of the cast of the new Han Solo Movie

Comments2/21/2017 7:51:28 PM

The hunt for Planet 9 Needs You!!!

The scientists searching for the new nineth planet are now asking the Internet community for help. They have set up with the Backyard Worlds team to ask for volunteers. The work revolves round looking at pictures and spotting any differences. Any difference between the two pictures could herald the nineth planet. Its the same sort of method that Clyde Tombaugh did when he was searching for Pluto. You`ll need a lot of time and patience and it involves a lot of studying. No degrees, no Ph.D.s required so every fancied being a discoverer, go straight ahead and good luck.

At the time of uploading this story, 60% of the work had already been done with 14,625 volunteers and over a million classifications. Whoever said they`d struggle to find volunteers got that one wrong. Hopefully, we`ll find something. I`ll admit, I haven`t signed up.

Comments2/19/2017 7:18:54 PM

Richard `Apollo` Hatch has died

The actor who played Capt. Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica series in the late seventies has past away after loosing a fight again pancreatic cancer. He returned to the series as Sagittaron Terrorist turned politician Tom Zarek. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Capt. Apollo but was beaten by Michael Moriarty for his role in holocaust.

You can take the actor out of the series but you can`t take the series out of the actor. Richard stayed loyal to the series and penned a number of books on Battlestar Galactica called Armageddon, Resurrection and Rebellion. He attempted to get the series back in the nineties, creating a demo vid but wasn`t picked up by the studios. It wasn`t until the Star Wars prequels that interest in the series rose again.

Comments2/8/2017 7:53:08 PM

The 10 Nearest Stars to Earth

The nearest star to the Earth is the Sun, the great ball of fire in the sky. Some people forget the Sun is actually a star. It is referred to as a dwarf star compared so absolute giants out there such as UY Scuti, the current record holder at 1708 times the size of our sun.

2nd, 3rd and 4th - Proxima, Alpha Centauri A and B - Centaurus

Proxima Centauri is one three stars that make up the Alpha Centauri / Rigil Kentaurus multiple star system. Alpha Centauri A and B are positions three and four in the list. They are located in the southern constellation of Centaurus. Proxima is a red dwarf star which in addition to being the nearest star to us, its also the nearest star that has an orbiting extra solar planet. The other two are yellow stars similar to our own star. Alpha Centauri A is slightly larger than our Sun but not by much.

5th - Barnard`s Star - Ophiuchus

Barnards Star is the closest star in the Northern Hemisphere and situated in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the thirteenth sign of the Zodiac. It is named after E.E. Barnard who although he didn`t discover it, he was known for the discovery of the high proper motion of the star. It is situated about 5.9 light years away from Earth.

6th - Luhman 16 - Vela

Luhman 16 is a small brown dwarf star in Vela, the closest of its type if you exclude Nemesis. Nemesis is a theorectial star that is believed to affect the an area of space 1 light year away known as the Oort Cloud and cause the comets in the belt to head towards us. It is a binary star system but I have only detailed one of the stars on this site. Therefore you could say they are the 6th and 7th closest stars to us. The name for the star comes from its discoverer, Kevin Luhman from the Pennsylvania University in the United States.

7th - Wise 0855-0714 - Hydra

Wise 0855-0714 is located in Hydra and is a small and not very luminous star that was discovered recently. It is not a star to be seen in the night sky. It was discovered by Kevin Luhman who also discovered the sixth most closest star to us.

8th - Wolf 359 - Leo

Anyone who knows a lot about Star Trek will know of the famous fictional battle, Battle of Wolf 359 which resulted in destruction of the Federation fleet at the hands of a Borg Cube. The fact that the star is close to Earth was the reason for its being chosen. At that time of the series, Luhman and Wise stars had not yet been discovered. The star is located in the constellation of Leo.

9th - Lalande 21185 - Ursa Major

Lalande 21185 is the brightest red dwarf in the northern hemisphere and only third brightest in the night sky. It is too dim to be seen in the night sky with the naked eye but probably be seen with a good telescope or binoculars. It can be located in the Ursa Major northern constellation.

10th - Sirius - Canis Major

The tenth closest is Sirius, the Dog star in the constellation of Canis Major and it is also the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is a double star and the companion star would amount to being the 11th brightest.

Furthest Star

The universe is so vast that we can`t see the edge of the galaxy. The most distant star covered on this site is R136a, in the constellation of Dorado. The star is not in our galaxy but is in the Tarantula nebula in the satellite galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The imaginatively name HE 0437-5439 is moving out of the milky way Galaxy at a speed of three times the orbital speed of the Sun. Some stars will appear that they are further out on this website but the data should be assumed to be incorrect.

Comments1/30/2017 9:13:13 PM

Star Wars Episode VIII gets a title - The Last Jedi

As of 6pm GMT on the 23rd of January 2017, we now know the name of Episode VIII and it is to be known as The Last Jedi. This will be in reference to Luke Skywalker. In the last episode, we got to meet Rey who the force awoken inside her but she is not yet a Jedi, only someone who has the power of being a Jedi. It will continue immediately on from the previous episode, Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens without any breaks like there had been in the previous films. It will most likely see Rey being trained as a new Jedi by Luke Skywalker who was finally discovered on the planet of Ahch-To after having been missing for many years after the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia turned to the dark side and became Kylo Ren.

In addition to the returning characters, they`ll be a few new faces including the new allegedly antagonist played by Benicio Del Toro, an award winning actor who won an oscar for best supporting actor in the 2000 film, Traffic about the drugs business in Mexico.

Sadly, some actors who were to appear in the Last Jedi died last year, none more famous than Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher. In addition to Princess Leia, the actors behind R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and the voice of Admiral Ackbar (Erik Bauersfield) passed away in 2016 with their scenes already shot, the film is currently in post-production.

The film will be released at the end of 2017 during the Christmas film period like the previous episode and Star Wars - Rogue One, the first anthology film.

According to the cast list, there a few more females in this film than there were last time. In addition to returning characters of Princess Leia, Rey, Maz Kanata and Captain Phasma, the cast will be joined by Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran. We`ll probably see a bigger role for Lt Connix, who we saw briefly last time wearing the hairstyle that Princess Leia made famous in the first film. The actress who plays Connix is the real life daughter of Carrie Fisher.

As for the actual plot, there`s only been leaks, nothing official. What we can virtually guarantee is that Rey will be being trained as a Jedi by Luke. Its uncertain as to whether we find out about Rey`s parentage which might be kept for episode IX. More information will appear on the dedicated Star Wars VIII - The Last Jedi page when I hear anything.

In between Episodes VIII and IX, we have as yet untitled Star Wars - Han Solo Movie which is due out in 2018. It had been due out in May but is now going to be Christmas like all the new Disney version films.

Star Wars - The Last Jedi Title Picture

Comments1/23/2017 7:20:22 PM

Happy New Year 13,823,342,017 A.B.B.

Happy New Year, no one really knows exactly when the big bang was precisely, only that it was 13.8 billion years ago the A.B.B. (After Big Bang) is a semi-random number. Hopefully the New Year will be better than last year and your dreams come true just in case they didn`t last year. The "BIG" event to look forward to this year is the "Great American eclipse" which is the first total eclipse in America since 1970 according to the images on Wiki page to cross the United States. The latter eclipses, just grazed the country without totally crossing the country. Remember to get hold of special glasses to observe the Sun, there`s further information at Great American Eclipse and Eclipse 2017. You buy your glasses now and keep them safe otherwise they`ll be run out by the time you need them.

The previous year we`ve seen the deaths of astronauts of John Glenn and Piers Sellars, we hope its not a trend that will increase. However, death comes to us all in the end to put no finer point on it. Hopefully we`ll all be back next year to read the 13,823,342,018 blog entry.

No expansion for Warcraft but they`ll be continuing with the current expansion, Legion and we`ll also be getting micro-holidays. Instead of the long holiday events like Winterveil and Children`s Week, we`ll get more one day events such as Diablo 20th anniversary on the 4th January and then another Call of the Scarab. Call of the Scarab is to mark the anniversary of the opening of the gates of Ahn`Qiraj which will see both the horde and alliance compete to control to have their flags hanging over Ahn`Qiraj for the forthcoming year. There`s more information at WowHead.

As far as I know, there`s no out of the ordinary major meteor showers due this year but should I hear, I`ll update the site. There`s also new comets due to cross our skies in the new year.

As for the entertainment front, the big film due this year is the next film in the Star Wars film series, Episode VIII which will see Rey and Finn take on the First Order. Sadly, last year, Carrie Fisher who played the beloved Princess Leia passed away just after Christmas last year. Leia had been due to play a major role in the next episode which fortunately, her scenes had been done. Her role in Episode IX will need to be rewritten unless they CGI her like what they did with her and Grand Moff Tarkin in the phenomenally successful Rogue One. If you`ve not seen it already, its worth seeing in my view.

Comments1/1/2017 12:00:00 AM

R.I.P. Princess Leia

It is with sadness that I write, Carrie Fisher, best known for many people interested in space and wider afield as Princess Leia Organa has past away. Although she is best known for that role, she has also appeared in other films such as Shampoo with Warren Beaty which was her film. She appeared in all the first trilogy, the original trilogy as its best known and then appeared in Star Wars - The Force Awakens as General Leia, leader of the Rebels know now as the Resistance.

Her character albeit a bit of C.G.I. returned to the cinema this year in the prequel Star Wars - Rogue One and was expected to appear in the next two sequels, Episodes VIII and IX. I believe the actual filming of Episode VIII had been finished and that it was now in post-production so that her character will still be there as to what extent her character will appear is not known. Its unlikely they`ll do the same thing as they did with Grand Moff Tarkin for the last film in the new trilogy. Thats speculation, not fact.

She wasn`t the only person to have starred in the films to have died this year in one of the worst years for famous people generally. Other people from the films to have died are :-

May the Force be with them in heaven.

Comments12/27/2016 8:22:06 PM

Piers Sellars, British Astronaut has died

Piers Sellars, the British born N.A.S.A. astronaut has sadly past away after a fight with stage 4 pancreatic cancer which he revealed he had in January of this year. He was born in Crowborough, Sussex 1955. He always had aspirations of going into space. The British government doesn`t sponsor its nationals to go into space so after working his way through University, gaining eventually a PhD, he moved to the United States. Over time after working for N.A.S.A, he became a United States naturalised national which then allowed him to go into space.

Piers took part in three Space Shuttle flights, two on Atlantis and one on Discovery during his time up in space. His total amount of time in space was 35 days. In addition to all his N.A.S.A. distinguished medals, he was awarded an O.B.E. in 2011 for his contributions to space. He was married to Amanda Lomas but the marriage ended in divorce. ref: Wikipedia.

Comments12/24/2016 8:59:01 PM

Rogue One finally hits the Cinemas

Nursing a hang-over from the Christmas Party from the night bfore, I went to see the film at the local cinema. I was not disappointed. I personally felt that the film was better than the previous years, Star Wars - The Force Awakens. I along with everyone all knew how the film would end. We`re already seen the sequel which it had come out decades earlier. I had seen lots of trailers of the film before but it didn`t diminish the enjoyment of the film.

There were a number of people on social media who disliked the fact that Jyn Erso, the lead character was female but she proved to be no shrinking violet and held her own. If you don`t like the fact she was an equal to the lead male, don`t watch it, Disney won`t go bust if you didn`t go.

A quick reminder of the plot, the film is set immediately before the events of Star Wars IV - A New Hope and features a group of Rebels stealing the Death Star plans. In the original films, they were described as Bothan as it had been said many Bothans died getting these plans but it never explained what a Bothan was unless I missed it.

We knew Darth Vader would appear but to see Grand Moff Tarkin appear for as long as he did was great. The C.G.I. to bring the character to life was excellent along with the rest of the CGI. We also got treated to a CGI version of Princess Leia as she received the Death Star plans. There were a number of other cameos including that of Senator Bail Organa and an explanation of why he didn`t appear in future films. Although there was the now compulsory desert planet, this time Jedha rather than Jakku or Tatooine, there were other planets along with the returning Yavin IV where the Rebels had their base.

The main characters Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor were likeable enough. Even though they were going to die, you hoped they would some how survive and then retire but that was not going to happen. The film wasn`t going to have that kind of happy ending. They weren`t going to form a bond between the two of them like Han Solo and Princess Leia, not enough time and the film wasn`t going to be set over a long period. They only embraced when they knew they were going to die and there`s no way out. It was an original storyline compared to the Force Awakens, things what happened hadn`t happened before.

The next film is to be released this time next year is going to be Episode VIII with the main storyline following Rey as the force inside continues to awaken. The following year will see another spin-off anthology film, this time based on the smuggler Han Solo before he joined the Rebel Alliance and met his future wife. Also appearing in addition to a young Han Solo is Chewbacca and a young Lando Calrissian, both humans leads have been chosen.

There were a lot of scenes from trailers and t.v. spots that didn`t make it into the movie, wonder why. Examples include the scene where Jyn is walking and a TIE Fighter appears, the scene is in the film but the TIE Fighter isn`t. Another scene is where Jyn asks if they`re a rebellion because she`s a rebel. When the DVD/Blu-ray comes out, it`ll be interesting to hear why then got cut. We won`t get an extended edition of all the cuts because some contradict others.

Overall, it was great and look forward to the next, the Force is definately with this one.

Rogue One Film Poster

Comments12/16/2016 6:38:25 PM
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