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Universe Guide Blog Articles Archive 2

Planet found in orbit round Barnard`s Star

Scientists have found an exoplanet in orbit round Barnard's star. Barnard's Star is the fourth nearest star to Earth. It is the nearest solo star, the nearer stars are ones that make up Alpha Centauri multi-star system. Amongst that group of star is Proxima Centauri which is the nearest star to our solar system and also has an exoplanet in orbit

Barnard's Star is a solo star, it does not orbit or interact with any other stars. Barnard's Star is a small red dwarf star, much like Proxima and you won't be able to see it unaided. It is very much like Proxima. Proxima is believed to flame its planet which therefore means that life couldn't exists on its surface so until proven otherwise, Barnards Star could possibly be the closest planet to support life albeit microbial life forms.

The planet in orbit is a Super-Earth meaning it is bigger than our own Earth. It is about 2.3 times the size of Earth and orbits its star in 233 days.

The discovery increases the likelihood that we could one day discovering life elsewhere. The closer the exoplanet is, the more we can learn about the planet and ultimately discover if life exists on the planet by discovering its atmospheric composition.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from Queen Mary University in London, England and the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, and the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain, The planet was discovered using a technique referred to as the Radial Velocity method. That method detects slight wobbles in the star caused by the planet orbiting. Even though a planet can be very small compared to its star, it can still pull on the star slightly.

Comments28/11/2018 21:54

R.I.P. Stan Lee

Stan Lee, the face of Marvel Comics has died at the age of 95, a brillant feat for anyone to make. Had he been British, it would go without saying he would have been knighted for services to entertainment. He has been credited with creating a large number of Marvel characters such as Peter Parker (Spiderman) and Doctor Strange. Steve Rogers (Captain America) was not one of his creation.

Stan was born on 28th December 1922 in Manhattan, New York as Stanley Lieber but is more widely known as just Stan Lee. He got his first taste of comic when he was hired at Timely comics at the age of 17. His work at the comic was briefly interrupted by the Second World War when the United States entered in 1941 after the events of Pearl Harbor. He join the Signals Corps being responsible for communication equipment.

He would marry the love of his life, Joan Clayton Boocock on December 5th, 1947 and they would stay together for 69 years before she died last year. They had two daughters, Joan Celia and Jan. Sadly, Jan would die aged three days.

He would become synonymous with the company. Whilst the other Marvel legend, Jack Kirby would briefly work for rival D.C. Comics, Stan would stay totally loyal. D.C. never had an equivalent personality.

Starting from The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, Stan Lee had cameos in nearly every future Marvel film. A notable film of Stan missing was Deadpool 2. Stan appeared in the trailer where Deadpool tells him to shut up but he didn't appear in the film. The only appearance of Stan in Deadpool 2 was a picture on a billboard. Stan appeared in the first Deadpool film as the D.J. of a strip club which allegedly he didn't like when he found out.

Although Peter Parker wasn't allowed to appear in cameo form for the Venom (2018) movie, that didn't stop Stan Lee from appearing in the film in cameo form. He probably has a few cameos left to be seen particularly in Captain Marvel and in Endgame.

He died November 12th, 2018 from heart and respiratory problems. Wiki He will forever be remembered as the human face of comics and will be missed in real life and in the Marvel cameos.

Comments15/11/2018 16:41

The Mandalorian and Cassian Andor

The Mandalorian

when the copyright for the Star Wars franchise was held by George Lucas, the creator, the only series that we had on television were cartoons such as the Droids, the Ewoks and the Clone Wars to name a few. Since Disney has brought the rights to the franchise, they have not just announced one but two television series. The series won't be cartoons like before but real life series.

The Mandalorian

The first series is the Mandalorian, set after the fall of the Empire after the events of Star Wars VI - Return of the Jedi. It is about a bounty hunter/assassin who is working on the fringes of the galaxy, well away from the reaches of the remnants of the Empire or emerging First Order.

Expect to see a few Stormtroopers but don't expect any familiar faces, after all both Darth Vader and Palpatine are both dead. The lead character is played by Pedro Pascal, a Chilean born American actor, famous for appearing in Game of Thrones and the Kingsman 2 film.

For those that don't know what a Mandalorian is, a Mandalorian is a person from the planet of Mandalore in the Outer Rim. The planet is a uninhabitable desert world, slightly different Tatooine in that people live in biodomes. Mandalorians are most famous for their work as warriors and mercenaries. The most famous and beloved Mandalorian is Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who took Han Solo to Jabba, the Hutt.

Cassian Andor

Cassian Andor was an intelligence officer with the Rebel Alliance just before the events of Star Wars IV - A New Hope who with the help of Jyn Erso stole the plans of the Death Star and passed them to Princess Leia on board the Tantive IV.

In Star Wars - Rogue One, both Cassian and Jyn were killed to explain why they didn't appear in New Hope. The series presumably starring Diego Luna will be a prequel series with events leading up to Rogue One. There's an outside chance you could see characters from the original such as Darth Vader or Palpatine guest star in one or two episodes, after all the series is set in the era when they were in control. What you can't expect to see is a cross-over episode between the Mandalorian and Cassian Andor series as they are set in different time periods.

Both are in production and will be shown on the Disney streaming service. The streaming only service for these episodes are not the first time it has has happened, the Stargate Origins show is currently a streaming only service.

Comments15/11/2018 14:37

When you look up to the Universe and it smiles back at you

N.A.S.A. recently released a picture from the hubble space telescope of what looks like a face in space. The face is of galaxy cluster SDSS J0952h3434 in the constellation of Leo Minor. The smile is caused by gravitational lensing, when the light of the galaxy is distorted.

N.A.S.A. photo of a smiling face in Leo Minor

Its not the first time a smile has been capture by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first was captured in 2015. The first was nicknamed the Cheshire Cat after the famous cat in the Alice in Wonderland story. The first was located in the constellation of Ursa Major. Unless you have use of a very powerful space ship, say the T.A.R.D.I.S., you can forget ever visiting them.

N.A.S.A. photo of a smiling face in Ursa Major

Comments06/11/2018 20:52

First Exomoon believed to have been discovered in orbit around Kepler 1625b

Scientists have so far discovered 5311 exoplanets based on the figure at Exoplanets.org on the 7th of October 2018. This figure includes both confirmed and unconfirmed planets. The vast majority of the exoplanets reported can be found in the constellation of Cygnus because the Kepler Space Telescope which discovered most of them only looked at one area of space and that was in Cygnus.

The one thing that eluded scientists was whether there are any Exomoons out there, they could surely not just be something that is only found in our Solar system. Finding an Exoplanet is hard enough because they would be small compared to the star they orbit but an Exomoon would be even harder as they would be smaller than the planet.

On 3rd of October 2018, scientists decided to go public with news that they believe they had discovered the first exomoon. They published their work at ScienceMag describing what they had discovered. The first Exomoon is believed to be in orbit round Kepler 1625-b. The host planet is believed to have several times the mass of Jupiter and be many times larger than the largest planet in the Solar System. The moon in question Kepler-1625 bi with i being the Roman numeral for one in lower case is believed to be as larger if not larger than Neptune, another gas giant planet in our solar system.

It doesn't strengthen or weaken for the existence of alien life in the universe, it just means our Solar System is becoming less unique. There could well be a Moon of Endor out there which has life such as those bears, the Ewoks.

Comments07/10/2018 20:20

What is the Kessel Run?

The Kessel Run was first mentioned in the first Star Wars film that came out in 1997. Obi-Wan Kenobi is trying to get himself, Luke Skywalker and the two droids transport to Alderaan when prospective transport pilot Han Solo brags that his craft, the Millennium Falcon can do the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. For those that are not aware, a parsec is an unit of length and not time which it was implied it was in the film.

Excluding where it might have been mentioned in the books or cartoons, the Kessel Run is mentioned again in The Force Awakens when Rey is surprised that she's on the Millennium Falcon and has to be corrected by Han Solo when Rey incorrectly describes what the Millennium Falcon is famous for.

It is not until Solo that we learn what the Kessel Run actually is. The planet of Kessel is a planet deep within a nebula of gas, dust, monsters and gravity wells. A gravity well is the pull of gravity that a body in space exerts. In the film, the gravity well looks like a mini black hole which the Millennium Falcon uses to escape a monster in the nebula.

Kessel is controlled by a crime syndicate that uses slaves made up of a variety of races including humans and Wookies to mine Coaxium, a much prized fuel in the galaxy. As the last attempt by Han Solo and Tobias Beckett to get their hands on Coaxium ended in failure, the group had to travel to Kessel in order to steal some unrefined coaxium ore

There is only one safe path from Kessel through the nebula and that is heavily guarded. Han Solo proposes a short cut through the nebula to Savareen where the fuel will be stablized and refined. The Kessel Run is the journey through the nebula to or from the planet.

In World of Warcraft, there is a nod to the Kessel Run on Bloodmyst Isle where you are requested to use an Elekk, a type of elephant to run a certain course round the zone. It isn't the only nod to the Kessel Run but one that springs to mind.

Comments01/10/2018 18:44

What is Oumuamua and where did it come from?

Artists impression of Oumuamua

Its been covered by this site before but here's a re-cap. Oumuamua is the name of an asteroid that visited our Solar System nearly a year ago. Most asteroids just orbit the Sun and stay in a short orbit, mainly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists have said is it from another solar system and is an Interstellar visitor. There had been those who believed it to be an alien craft but as we've not made contact, think we can discount that one.

Oumuamua passed to within 0.25 A.U. of the Sun. 1 A.U. is the distance between the Earth and the Sun so therefore the asteroid passed within a quarter of the distance between Earth and the Sun.

A group of scientists have identified four possible locations of where the star could have come from. Two stars are easy to find information on whereas the other two are "obscure" stars and don't have easy classification names. The other two stars have GAIA references and are not discussed here and for more information, visit Arxiv.

As mentioned in my previous article, it had been believed that the star came from Lyra constellation. The asteroid started on its journey as a result of a possible collision or explosion.

The name Oumuamua, not one to roll off the tongue easily for most people is a Hawaiian term. Researchers from the University of Hawaii were first to spot the object so they had the luxury of it being named. They chose Oumuamua as it is the Hawaiian term for Scout. Metro

Hip 3757

Hip 3757 is a red dwarf star and not one that can be seen with the naked eye. The star is calculated as being in the constellation of Cetus, the whale. The star is relatively close by galactic standards at about 83.83 light years based on Hipparcos 2007 measurements.

HD 292249

HD 292249 is more solar like but too far away to be seen with the naked eye. The star has been calculated as being in the constellation of Monoceros. The star is yellow/white in colour similar to our own star, the Sun, it is too far away to be seen.

Comments30/09/2018 12:48

First possible exoplanets discovered by TESS telescope announced

N.A.S.A. has revealed the first two candidate planets to have been spotted by TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite that was launched earlier this year on a two year mission. The mission is to discover probable candidate exoplanets, planets that lie in orbit round other stars.

The two stars are candidate stars as Earth based scientists will need to follow up to confirm their existence. It is expected that TESS will identify thousands of stars as it searches the cosmos for planets.

Pi Mensae c

The first is around the star Pi Mensae, a star in the constellation of Mensa. It is a star that you can see when you look up to the skies but you will not be able to see any of the planets that are in orbit round the star because they are too small. It is believed that the planets are not suitable for life so we'll need to look elsewhere for aliens.

The planet is labelled c because it is the second planet to have been discovered in orbit round the star. The letter a is reserved for the star itself, planets start from b. The star itself is located in the southern hemisphere therefore it will not be visible to many people in the northern hemisphere.

The planet is a Super-Earth because it is bigger than our own planet. The planet is close to the star and completes an orbit in 6.27 days compared to 365.4 days that the Earth completes its year. It is therefore too close and hot to support life as we know it. Further reading can be done at Arxiv.

Location of Pi Mensae in the constellation of Mensa

LHS 3844

The second star that has been discovered to contain a star is LHS 3844. It is a smaller red dwarf star and is cooler and smaller than our own Sun. The planet is described as a Hot Earth meaning its size is roughly the same as that of Earth. The Hot means its temperature is well, hot, hotter than anything on this Earth, too hot for life to exist as we know it. The planet orbits its star in 11 hours which you can imagine is very fast.

Unlike Pi Mensae, this is not a eye visible star, you will need visual aids such as a telescope to see it. If you do want to try and look for the star, it is located in the constellation of Indus, the Indian in the southern hemisphere. Both constellations are not next to one another. Further reading can be found at Arxiv.

Comments22/09/2018 11:50

Aquaman trailer finally released

During ComicCon 2018, Aquaman trailer was finally premiered to the world. Its been a long time coming but now that its out, it welcome. Although the comic book version is a blonde, this film adaptation is played by a long haired brunette actor Jason Mamoa. It is the only D.C. film that is coming out this year compared to what Disney/Marvel have planned, Black Panther, Infinity Wars, Venom, Ant-man and Wasp to name a few.

The first time we saw Aquaman in a movie was in Batman Vs. Superman : Dawn of Justice and that was only a brief glimpse of him undersea as Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne discuss about putting together a group of heroes to be known as the Justice League. Aquaman then made his first real debut in the follow up film, Justice League where he helps the others to bring down Steppenwolf, a powerful being from another world.

In the noughties, they did create a pilot for Aquaman the series but it didn't get picked up. The actor Justin Hartley would go to play Oliver Queen in the Smallville series. This is the first film dedicated to the character.

It is about how he became King of Atlantis and by way of the trailer, it doesn't disappoint. Arthur Curry is contacted by Atlanteans about coming back to Atlantis to prevent his half brother from being leader of Atlantis and launching a war on the people above the service.

This film has been directed by James Wan, who has previously been known for the Saw films. What has pleased some D.C. fans is that Zach Snyder who had oversaw the previous Justice League films is not involved in this film. D.C. films have been epic in the past with the Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan Batman films and the Christopher Reeve Superman films of the past so everyone is hoping the film can return back to the past glory that we used to know and love.

In addition to King Ohm, aka Ocean Master, Aquaman's main adversary, Black Mantra will also appear but he will only be a side story. The film will be about two hours long, Warner Bros. have turned their backs on anything longer than that.

Aquaman Trailer

Comments22/07/2018 20:40

Pluto, one giant Comet?

Scientists revealed recently that the dwarf planet could actually one giant comet or have formed from comets. It had always been believed that all our planets including the dwarf one were created at the start of the solar system from rock material that merged into one large object.

Scientists analyzing data from both the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the information back from the Rosetta Space Probe discovered a few similarities which started off the interest in that Pluto could be a giant comet, one that is without a tail as it is too far away from the Sun to burn off and create a tail.

It had been reported in the journal Icarus that scientists from the Southwest Research institute, San Antonio, Texas had come up with this theory. The smooth heart shape area (Tombaugh Regio) on the surface of the dwarf planet contains materials that are similar to those found on P67 comet by Rosetta. Pluto would have had to have been hit by a large number of comets over time, an estimated billions comets to be precise.

The scientists took data from P67 and scaled up the nitrogren content which matched what they found on Pluto so the theory came about. How much nitrogen Pluto had at the start and how much it has lost is not know and could affect the theory.

For further reading, you can view You Tube video which gives a good understanding or read it at Smithsonian.

Comments10/06/2018 16:19

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