Universe Guide

Guide to Space, Planets and the Rest of the Universe

Dark Matter comes to an End

The Canadian sci-fi series Dark Matter will not be renewed for a fourth series and has been cancelled. The show followed a group of amnesiac criminals plus an orphan as they traverse the galaxy to survive. It had been running for the past three years. The cancellation had been due to falling viewer numbers I presume. The press release was released on Joseph Mallozzi, producer and artist`s Official Blog.

The group was led by Portia Lin, who it turned out to be a synthetic female, not created in the same way as you me. In the last episodes, it was discovered that she had a child but we don`t get to see them be reunited. Portia was played by Melissa O`Neil who won the Canadian Idol in 2005 and slimmed down and got fit since that time.

The series also starred Antony Lemke and Roger Cross, both not new to science fiction, both had starred in Andromeda albeit in different episodes and not together. Zoie Palmer played the role of Android, the female artificial robot, Zoie played her character like a robot and not as a real person unlike for example Rommie was too human.

Alex Mollari Jr, played the role of Ryo Tetsuda, an Emperor of Zairon who was unseated by his mother-in-law and having his brother put in place instead. Ryo would manage to regain his crown at the end of the second series, only to loose it again in an uprising at the end of the third series.

The girl with the green hair, Emily Kolburn was an orphan but we learnt in the last ever episode who her mother was and it was a surprise. We also learnt and briefly through a memory of her sister but we never met her in the storyline.

The man to the left of Emily was Derrick Moss who had come onboard the Raza in the hope of finding a murderer. Derrick was killed at the beginning of the second series and made a few guest appearances throughout the series.

The series also featured guest appearances from two actors who appeared in Stargate Atlantis, an offshoot series of the main one. The only thing that the series didn`t have was Aliens, however this was being rectified if you can say that at the end of the third series but we didn`t get to see much of them. The aliens were able to control the minds of other people. At the very end, we see a massive seemingly alien spaceship coming through a wormhole.

The science fiction show could still have a reprieve but at the moment, the series has been offficially cancelled by Space T.V. in Canada. Another network could pick it up and run with it but we`ll have to see. Its not the first time a series has been taken over by another network when one has dropped out. Although not science fiction but the first such series to spring to mind is Ripper Street. Ripper Street was first produced by B.B.C. but when the BBC didn`t want anymore to do with it, Amazon Prime took over the show and produced a few more in conjunction with B.B.C. who would later show it on terrestial television. Fingers crossed.

Group picture of the characters from the Dark Matter series

Comments9/2/2017 10:46:16 PM

Star Wars Indentities at the O2

If you`ve been planning on seeing Star Wars Identities at the O2 stadium in London, England then you`ve only got a week left to go. The show finishes on the 3rd September to make way for a Prince exhibition. Prince as in the musician and not any member of any royal famly. The show will then move to Utrecht, in The Netherlands so if you miss it and want to catch it elsewhere, you know where to go. All the major character models from the originals and the prequels are there such as Princess Leia and Darth Vader. There is no Jyn Erso and the sequels were limited to the androids (BB8, C-3PO and R2-D2). Its not just characters, there are vehicles such as the Star Destroyer on display too.

The worst thing about the identities is the positionining of the information boxes, right in front of the exhibition. It makes for taking photos very difficult, however, if you move to the side slightly then you can a nearly perfect shot.

In addition to information about Star Wars, there`s also real world information which can be a bonus if you`re trying to persuade someone to take you. :)

As you go round, there are information boxes that tell you how characters were designed. For example, Chewbacca might have looked more like a walking monkey than he does now with long pointed ears. Chewbacca`s character was developed over a number of designs to what we like now.

Don`t go expecting to seeing real-life face versions of characters because the emphasis is on the customes and vehicles. If you wanted life like looks of the characters then Madame Tussauds is your better bet which I talked about here albeit in minor detail. Before going you should check its still which it was at the time of writing.

Darth Vader at the Star Wars Identities at the O2

Comments8/28/2017 9:59:18 AM

Great American Eclipse 2017

Not being in America myself to confirm it, I expect there to be a lot of news coverage of the event. It is quoted as being the first eclipse in a hundred years to grace the United States. If you miss it, bad luck but you won`t have to wait as long for the next Great Eclipse. The next one in the United States is due on April 8th 2024. Great American Eclipse. Southern Illinois will be the place to see both eclipses at totally as the path of the eclipses will cross at that point.

People in Northern Eastern U.S.A. such as New York will get a better totality of about 85% in 2024 whereas in 2017, it`ll be about 76%. Totality is expected to last about two minutes when its all goes dark and the temperature drops. Auto-sensory street lights will come on so if you want perfect vision for the event, move away from any street lighting that might be close by. Make sure you know where your eclipses glasses are, its no good using sunglasses as they won`t provide the protection that you need. If you don`t have any, don`t cross your fingers and hope you don`t damage your eyes because you will.

The Eclipse will start about 10:00 am P.D.T. on the west coast where it will be dark for about 2 minutes as it moves across the United States. Casper, Wyoming where rumours are that it will be best place to see it will be dark at about 11:45 MDT. St. Louis, one of the biggest city in the path will see darkness at about 1:15pm. Nashville, Tennessee will get dark roughly an hour later. The last American city to see the eclipse is Charleston at 2:45pm EDT. I`ll keep my fingers crossed for you that its not cloudy.

Only people in Western Europe will have a chance at seeing the Eclipse before it finishes for good. In the UK, the Sun will be 2% covered at about 8pm in the evening. Its hardly worth watching unless you`re an ardent eclipse watching in which case, good luck.

The next major European eclipse will be on August 12th 2026 where Barcelona will get totality with the UK getting about 95% which will be something worth watching.

Comments8/20/2017 8:54:09 AM

Doctor Who Christmas 2017 Preview

Although Christmas is five month aways, news of the Doctor Who Christmas special is already being either leaked or details being given away. The official BBC tv trailer for the episode has been released and its below. This may contain spoilers so look away now. For those who watched the end of the last episode, the 1st Doctor makes an appearance. The 1st Doctor is to be played by David Bradley who played William Hartnell in a drama about how Doctor Who got started. The Wintery landscape is a nod to The Tenth Planet in which the Cybermen first appeared. In the original Tenth Planet, the Doctor disappeared and this is going to explain where he went.

There was a rumour that Clara Oswald would be appearing in this Christmas episode but there`s no shots of her. We do see Bill Potts somehow back as a human. In the last episode, she had been converted into a Cyberman and then last seen turned into a water creature.

At the end of the episode, we do know that the Doctor will regenerate into a female for the first time in its history. The decision has split fans, some for, some against and some wait and see.

Its not the first time a character has changed genders, if you can remember back to the 2003 Battlestar Galactica remake, two of the main characters from the original series became female. They were the wise-cracking Lt. Kara Thrace ( Starbuck ) and Lt. Sharon Valerii ( Boomer ). It didn`t seem to that series any harm so lets just wait and see before we start "rioting".

Doctor Who Christmas 2017 Trailer

Comments7/24/2017 7:20:37 AM

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 AM

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 AM

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 AM

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 AM

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
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