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Guide to Space, Planets and the Rest of the Universe


The Thirteenth Doctor is revealed

The two characters that get most people guessing as to who will take on the role is The Doctor, the travelling Timelord and British agent James Bond. Whilst it was known that the former role is up for grabs after the current, the twelfth Doctor played by Peter Capaldi was standing down, it might seem that Daniel Craig has been persuaded to do another James Bond film. ref Independent.

After a series of cryptic videos shown on the BBC showing a key and the number 13 across various locations, they finally revealed the identity of who will be playing the thirteenth. Unlike when Peter Capaldi was revealed, there was a whole programme dedicated to the reveal, this time, the adverts gave a vague time when to watch. The reveal would come after the men`s tennis singles final at Wimbledon forcing a number of Whovians to watch the whole match so as not to miss the reveal. When the game ended earlier than planned, the video was shown virtually straight away.

The Doctor is revealed to have changed genders and become a female much in the same way The Master had done so in turning into Missy. Whilst most tweets on twitter have been supportive, a few have cried P.C. When, the series begins in next year, we`ll see how well the audiences take to seeing Jodie as being the next Doctor. The first episode will have the highest viewing audience, it always does. It`ll be interesting to see how it continue throughout the series.

The new Doctor coincides with a new producer on the show after Steven Moffat stepping down, to pave the way for Chris Chibnall to take over helming the show. Chris has written a number of episodes in the past such as 42. Chris is most remembered for the series Broadchurch which starred ex-Doctor, David Tennant as one of the lead detectives in the series. Chris knows Jodie Whitaker from the series so its probably not too much of a big surprise that she is taking on the role.

As a school friend put it on a Facebook message, does this mean I can get to be the new Doctor`s companion? Time, sorry, pun not intended will tell. What do you think, comments?b



Thirteenth Doctor revealed as Jodie Whitaker

Comments7/16/2017 8:06:12 PM

Doctor Who meets Red Dwarf

What if you didn`t like the Doctor Who opening title or its music but you really digged how Red Dwarf did theirs. Well, someone has created and posted a video of what it might look on Youtube and its quite funky. There are no characters from Red Dwarf in the clip, its not a cross-over. There are a few crossover videos on Youtube but I preferred to go with the titles this time round. For an cross-over, visit Ref: Doctor Who Crossover .

The Doctor in question is the twelfth doctor as played by Peter Capaldi. The companion is Clara Oswald with scenes from their last series together. Just click on the picture, sit back, relax and laugh.



Doctor Who opening scene with Red Dwarf music and style.

Comments7/6/2017 9:57:02 PM

Meet Kelt-9b, the Hottest Planet so far Discovered

If you think 30 degrees Celsius is extremely hot, you have no idea how hot things can get. The highest recorded temperature on Earth that has so far been recorded is 56.7 C and that was recorded on 10th July 1913 in Death Valley, California, United States. The previous highest with a measurement of 58 C was disqualified in 2012 by the World Meteorological Society. Ref: Guiness World Records.

The planet that is nearest to the Sun is Mercury but its not the hottest planet in the solar system believe it or not. The temperature of Mercury is about 160 C. The hottest planet in the solar system is the second nearest and that is Venus. Venus might be in the Goldilocks Zone but it has terrible global warming and run away temperatures. Venus is encompassed by a thick cloud of noxious gases that keep the heat in. It was once thought that the planet might have alien life but that has all but evaporated apart from some who think there still could be life out in Venus at high altitude where temperatures aren`t as high. Any life would be bacterial which have been known to survive extreme temperatures.

Venus at a temperature of about 464 C is nowhere near as hot as what some scientists believe is the hottest planet so far discovered. The hottest planet outside our Solar System is imaginatively named Kelt-9b. Its name comes the star that it is in orbit round, Kelt 9 in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. Ref: Vanderbilt

Kelt is not a name of a Greek or Roman god but an acronym for Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope. Kelt is a collaborative project between the Physics and Astronomy departments from Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University, Lehigh University and the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO).

Kelt 9b orbits very close to it star hence its extreme heat. The star is an A-Type star which means its a superhot and large star similar to Fomalhaut and Beta Pictoris which incidentally both stars also known to have planets in orbit round them. A rough estimate of the temperature of Fomalhaut for example based on the spectral type puts the temperature of the star at about 8-10,000C which we`ll infer is the same temperature as Kelt-9. The temperature of Kelt-9 is put at about 4,300C which is hotter than a lot of stars, most notably red dwarf stars which are the most common type of stars in the universe although we can`t see them from the Earth without telescopic aids. The nearest star is Proxima Centauri which is a red dwarf star and that`s about 2,942C based on the spectral type. A planet hotter than a star, who`d have thought.

The planet is close to the star and orbits every two days, a year faster than a week. Another reason to avoid that planet, short years. The planet is about three times the mass of Jupiter and twice as big. Jupiter is about 11 times as big as the Earth so the planet is about 22 times as big in terms of radius. The planet doesn`t orbit in the same way as the Earth in that it goes East to West but South to North.

Being so close to the star, its being boiled away by the sheer heat that the star is projecting onto it. The planet would look like a comet with a tail due to the heat from the star and would look blue if it was observed because of the heat. It won`t disappear anytime soon, the planet is believed to be around for another 300 years and after that, all that`ll be left is the rocky core if there is one. Ref: EOS

The planet is tidally locked to the planet meaning one side is always facing the star and one side is always facing away. The picture below is N.A.S.A. artist impression of the planet and its star.

In contrast, the coldest planet in the solar system is Neptune, that is if you exclude Pluto which was downgraded from planetary status. Neptune is about -201C, equally not a nice place to go.

N.A.S.A. artist`s impression of Kelt-9b planet in the constellation of Cygnus

Comments6/6/2017 7:34:39 PM

What is the smallest star?

I`ve already covered what is the Largest star even though that was last year so its time to cover the smallest star. By the way, the current holder of the largest star is UY Scuti, a star in the constellation of Scutum.

There are so many contenders and if you Google the question, they won`t all agree on the same star unlike the general consensus of UY Scuti. There are pages that will say that 2 Mass J0523-1403 in the constellation of Lepus is the smallest. Another contender to the smallest star is OGLE-TR-122 which has a planet in orbit round it in the constellation of Carina . 2Mass article is more recent so it could therefore be considered that the 2Mass is the smaller of the two stars because its more up to date.

Neither of those stars mentioned in the article above are visible with the naked eye on Earth because they are so small. The smallest star that is visible from Earth with the naked eye is 61 Cygni a double star in the constellation of Cygnus, the swan. Ref: Universe Today

The smallest group of stars are the red dwarf stars of which the nearest star to Earth other than the Sun falls into that group of stars, Proxima Centauri. Even though Proxima is the nearest star to us, it is not possible to see without a telescope. Its also been discovered that the star has a planet in orbit round it. Scientists find it easy to find exoplanets round red dwarf stars than they do with larger stars such as Hamal and Aldebaran in the constellations of Aries and Taurus respectively.

The reason why planets are easier to find around smaller stars is because planets have more of a visible effect on small stars compared to larger stars. The visible effect could be to cause the star to wobble, i.e. move or blink, i.e. transition. It is even believed that the planet around Proxima Centauri may even be hospitable for life to exist.

A star that is marginally (16%) bigger than Jupiter has been discovered and that star is OGLE-TR-122. The OGLE is smaller than some exoplanets which can be thirty percent larger than Jupiter. According to Wiki

At the moment, the largest exoplanet so far discovered is 6.9 times the size of Jupiter and is a star in orbit around KR Muscae in the constellation of Musca.

According to Phil Platt, the professional astronomer behind Bad Astronomy is on record as saying 2Mass can fit inside Jupiter which would therefore make it a didler compared to other stars. It is believed it might be the smallest a star can get so it could not only rank as the smallest star so far discovered but also the smallest star in the universe. Jupiter has sometimes been called a failed star so why if the smallest star is smaller than Jupiter, is Jupiter not a star. Its all about mass, a gas giant has to have sufficient mass in order to start nuclear reaction and Jupiter is just not massive enough. Ref: Curiosity

The only small stars that have been discovered so far are close-by stars, the 2Mass star is a mere 40 light years from Earth. Anything smaller if there is a smaller star would be marginally smaller if anything and absolutely nothing in it.

Comments5/27/2017 1:57:52 PM

R.I.P. Sir Roger Moore, 007

Sir Roger Moore, the third actor to play the role of James Bond, 007 on the big screen has passed away after a short fight with cancer at the age of 89. He is the first actor to play James Bond on the big screen to have passed away.

Roger first appeared as James Bond in the 1973 film, Live and Let Die and would go on to play the character for another six films ending with A View to a Kill at the age of 57. He is in fact three years older than Sean Connery who played James Bond first.

Although Bond flirted with space by preventing Spectre from interfering with the American space program in Dr. No, James actually only went into space in Moonraker. There are other references to space in other Bond films such as the E.M.P. satellite named after Ian Flemings home in Jamaica, Goldeneye. Goldeneye marked Pierce Brosnan`s first appearance. In the latest film, Spectre, one of the major scenes is fought in a Meteor crater in North Africa. There are less subtle hints at space technology such as when Bond used satellite imagery to locate Alex Dimitrios in Casino Royale.

Roger Moore was well known on the small screen before he took on the role of Bond. Roger is also known for taking on the role of British anti-hero, Simon Templar, a.k.a The Saint and in the Persuaders with Tony Curtis. In Canonball Run, the comedy, Roger plays a character who thinks he`s James Bond and who drives an Aston Martin. Surprisingly Roger did the Canonball Run during his tenure as 007 which was allowed I presumed so long as it didn`t directly reference Bond.

Sir Roger was also a UNICEF goodwill ambasssador having been made the position in 1991 and using the position to promote and champion childrens rights. Roger has been doing this for the last 26 years of his life travelling the world. Ref: UNICEF

Sir Roger Moore as James Bond

In addition to Roger Moore, we also lost Clifton James who appeared twice in consective movies as Sheriff J.W. Pepper starting in Live and Let Die. Clifton died 15th April 2017 at the grand old age of 96.

We also saw the alledge suicide death of Chris Cornell who in my view was the mastermind of one of the best James Bond theme tunes of recent years, the title song of Casino Royale, You Know My Name. Chris Cornell was a grunge singer who in addition to being a solo singer was lead singer in Soundgarden. All three are dearly missed.

Comments5/24/2017 10:57:48 AM

Tabby`s Star Dimming Again

KIC 8462852 or as its better know, Tabby`s star has been causing a bit of a stir again. Tabby`s Star is named after Tabetha S. Boyajian, an American astronomer who was the leader of a group that first made a detailed observation of the star. The star is a variable star like no other. The star brightens and dims between magnitudes more than any other star currently know of.

The star has dimmed at least twenty percent, far more than what other variable stars do. When planets cross in front of its star, the star will dip but not as much as this star has done. There`s been a lot of speculation as to what could cause the dimming including possible alien interference. Dimming doesn`t normally cause much interest but when it did this time, it made all the news headlines including in NewsWeek and in Daily Mail for example.

The fact that its been dimming and brightening over such a large amount, it has led some people to suggest that the star is a Dyson Sphere. A Dyson sphere was first suggested by Olaf Stapledon in his novel, Star Maker in 1937. However it gets its name from Freeman Dyson who popularised the theory. It is suggested that an alien civilisation has become so technologically advanced that they have managed to surround a star with an artificial object to provide an unlimited amount of energy. The book is currently out of copyright in some jurisdictions as the author died in 1950.

We may never know precisely because the star is about 1,276 light years from Earth and we don`t have any space ship that can travel to that star and back. It is located in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.

The Dyson Sphere was covered in an episode of Star Trek, the Next Generation where the Enterprise encounters a Dyson Sphere. The episode Relics also featured Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scott (Scotty) as a special guest star. The picture below is a screenshot of the what the Dyson Sphere looked like in the episode.

Dyson Sphere as seen form the Enterprise in Relics

Comments5/22/2017 12:59:20 PM

Coldstars, What are the Coldest Stars out there?

After watching Amy`s Choice which is an episode of Doctor Who from May 2010 again, it got me wondering. What is the coldest star out there? Not all stars are the same temperature, blue stars are the hottest that can reach in excess of 30,000k such as Naos in the constellation of Puppis.

At the other end of the temperature spectrum to Naos are red, brown and white dwarf stars. Red dwarf stars can go down to about 3,850K (Georgia State University) . They are both still hot, iron boils at 1811K (Patent Invent) . However as I researched further I found that there are stars out there can be touched by the human because they`re so cool. Not advisable because they`re still radioactive.

According to research, one of the coldest stars out there is a neighbour, in fact, it is the seventh closest star to our Solar System. If you count the three stars that make up the Alpha Centauri multi-star system including Proxima Centauri as one then it becomes the fourth nearest.

The coldest nearest star is Wise 0855-0714 and its to be found in the constellation of Hydra. It is a Y2 class dwarf star, it may not be the coldest ever star but for this article, it is the coldest we`ll be talking about. The star is a mere 7.27 Light Years from the Earth. Its temperature has been estimated at being about 225 -260k, which equates to about -48c to -13c (-55f to 8f). To put this in context, the mean coastal temperature of Antartica is about -12c going all the way down to -60c in areas about 4000 meters high. Ref: Antartica

Although the star won`t burn you, it will certain not be a wise move as you`ll get frostbite if you touch it and die. In addition to frostbite, there`s a whole lot of other issues that you could also get through touching it. It may even be a failed star, one that didn`t have sufficient mass to start nuclear fusion. It is speculated that these brown dwarfs aren`t stars but are rogue planets. There is a scientific paper on another brown dwarf star WISE 1828+2650 that discusses that star as to whether should be classed as a brown dwarf or a planet.

But what has it to do with Amy Choice? In the episode, the TARDIS is moving towards a Coldstar and the temperature in the TARDIS is freezing. Watching that prompted me to look into the coldest stars. As for whether the coldstar could have such an effect on a spaceship is unlikely in my view.

Comments5/21/2017 10:41:57 AM

U.S.S. Discovery set to launch in Autumn

The latest Star Trek franchise series is due to launch some time this Autumn/Fall 2017. Its had a chequered history and it keeps being put back and back. It missed the 50th Anniversary year (2016) but hopefully, it won`t be delayed any further.

The series is another prequel like Enterprise but its not based on the Enterprise but a different ship called Discovery. Discovery was the name of the most flown Space Shuttle that was used by N.A.S.A. until the space shuttle program was cancelled in 2010 by President George W. Bush.

The lead character from the trailer is Commander Burnham but she`ll not be the captain although the trailer implies otherwise. Previous information had said that the captain of the ship would be played by Jason Isaac but the video doesn`t show Jason but shows the captaincy being held by Michelle Yeoh`s character, Captain Georgiou.

The familiar aliens such as the Klingons will be back. They`ll be some new aliens of course. The graphics and images from the trailer have drawn similarities with Dune which was set on the desert world Arrakis and had the same look and feel.

This series is only available to C.B.S. cable in the United States and probably only on Netflixs everywhere else. If you only have Sky in the U.K., sit back and watch Orville instead, a comical take on Star Trek.



Star Trek Discovery to launch in Autumn.

Comments5/18/2017 8:29:05 PM

`The Orville`, a new take on Star Trek

From the comic genius that is Seth MacFarlane comes `The Orville`, a comical take on Star Trek. Seth is more famous for his adult themed cartoons `The Family Guy` and `American Dad`. He`s also the man behind the comic bear TED and was the executive producer for `COSMOS` television series. COSMOS was the updated version of Carl Sagan hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2014.

Its not the first time that a comedy has been influenced by Star Trek, there was galaxy Quest which featured characters who were actors in a science fiction series that were mistaken for real heroes. Unlike Galaxy Quest, this will have the characters as real star travellers, not pretending to be.

There`s no Space Federation, its planetary Union instead. The premise is that Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) has been picked to captain the ship `The Orville`. Ed wasn`t the first choice, he was the only person left. His second in command turns out to be his ex-wife and they don`t get along as the trailer shows. I could just regurgitate everything thats in the trailer but I think its best to sit back, watch and laugh.

Its going to be shown on the FOX network which hopefully it`ll mean it`ll be available on Sky T.V. including Now T.V.



Trailer for the Seth MacFarlane series

Comments5/18/2017 7:55:20 PM

Evidence of the Multiverse discovered?

The Multiverse in short is the theory that alternate realities exist. There could be a reality where you have won the Lottery or not won if you`re a winner in this reality. There`s a reality where Hillary Clinton won the U.S. Election and not Donald Trump. You can go on and on with other possible realities, each one different, each one based on a different set of rules.

There is no hard evidence that the Multiverse exists, there is only theory. Should a Multiverse exist, it could explain how our universe came into being. There is a theory that the big bang was caused by two universes colliding therefore creating a third.

According to scientists at the University of Durham, Professor Tom Shanks and postgraduate student Ruari Mackenzie believe that a cold spot in the Cosmic Background Radiation is the result of a collision between two universes. Their work is published in a Royal Astronomical Society paper. The picture below is copyrighted E.S.A. and Durham University.

Possible evidence of the Multiverse in Cosmic Background Radiation

The cold spot on the map is colder than most of its surroundings and void of many galaxies compared to surrounding areas. The cold spot was thought to be as a result of supervoid but current research believe it is too big to be the result of a void and therefore the Multiverse theory has gained substance. Ref: Independent

Comments5/17/2017 7:25:31 PM
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