Universe Guide

Universe Guide Blog Articles Archive 4

Closest exoplanet found orbiting Proxima Centauri24/08/2016 19:00

The closest extrasolar Extrasolar planet(Exoplanet) for short has been located. For years, scientists have been studying the star we know Proxima Centauri and its larger companion Rigil Kentaurus better known as Alpha Centauri. Whilst its been known that is a planet probably in orbit around the bigger yellow star, there has only been speculation about anything in orbit around the smaller red dwarf star until now. Scientists got the first clue as to there being a planet around Proxima Cenaturi in March 2000 but it took them 16 years until they were confident of their research to go public and say there is. Part of the problem of them not coming forward was false positives of star spots from red dwarves.

Scientists working at the European Southern Observatory in Chile have discovered an Earth-like planet in orbit round Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri is in the constellation of Centaurus which can be seen in the southern hemisphere, although the planet won`t be visible by naked eye or amateur telescope. Like all other exoplanets that have currently been discovered, it has the rather obtuse name of Proxima Centauri b or just Proxima b for short. The letter after the name signifies when it was discovered, the first planet in orbit round the planet is known as b, not a followed by c, d.... Presumeably if they ever found a massive solar system, they`d name it bb, bc etc. The planet being so close to the sun zips round it (orbits) in a very short 11 and a bit days. You`d experience all four seasons in what would be fortnight on Earth. Hopefully they`ll find other planets a little further out and a longer orbit.

In a billion years time, our Sun will no longer be able to support life as it grows into a red giant, we`d have to move away and find somewhere else. Even though it has a short year, Proxima will be around long after many stars including our Sun have died around. It is estimated the star will live for trillions of years so no more worrying about another planet to find.

The discovery makes it the closest exoplanet from us at a distance of about 4.1 Light Years. Travelling at the speed of light, it would still take four years to get to and four years to get back. Even given the sheer distance, it is the nearest star to us excluding the Sun. We don`t yet have the technology for faster than light travel that the likes of the Millenium Falcon is able to do. The fastest satellite would take tens of thousands of years to get to so we won`t be visiting it in our lifetime unless we break the laws of physics. At the moment, all we can do is wonder what the planet could look like. The below picture is an ESO/M. Kornmesser impressions of what the planet could look like.

There is a project going on at the moment with the backing and support of Prof. Stephen Hawking to send micro-satellites to that solar system and send back data. No humans will be going. The micro-satellites could possibly take 20 years to get to the target and then another couple of years to send the results back. In my life if they took off soon, we`d get results back whilst I`m still around.

Artists Impression of Proxima Centauri b in orbit

Any exoplanet that has been discovered increases the likelihood that we are not alone and that there are aliens out there ready to be discovered and communicate with. The planet is closer to Proxima than we are to the sun but because the star is dimmer than our own star, the Goldilocks Zone, the area round a star where life can exist on a planet is therefore closer. It is believed that water could exist on the planet, a big plus if we are to find life as all life on Earth requires water to survive. The artists impression makes the planet look barren and rocky, a little like Geonosis with a slight colour change.

Artists Impression of what Proxima Centauri B landscape could look like.


More news on Star Trek Discovery12/08/2016 20:15

Bryan Fuller, the man tasked with masterminding the new Star Trek Discovery series has been revealing a little bit more about it. The series will be seen from the perspective of a Lieutenant Commander rather than a Captain which the previous series have centred around. Famous Lt. Commanders include Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge and Lt. Cmdr. Data. It is promised that there will be a lot more alien races and not just those with different ridges on their heads such as the Bajorans. The lead character is a female this time, the first time since Captain Kathryn Janeway who took charge of the U.S.S. Voyager. It is expected that the lead character in addition to being female will be non-white. The series is also expected to feature a gay or lesbian character to be more inclusive. The cast members have not yet been revealed yet so if you fancy appearing, you could always submit your application for a role :),

The first series which has not yet started production will be first broadcast in January 2017 on CBS channel in America and then internationally with Netflixs. If you don`t have Netflixs then you`ll have to wait for the D.V.D or blu-ray whenever that gets released. Do feel they missed a trick with not having the series start on the 50th anniversary of the first episode going out in 1966. The new series was a late after thought. Unlike previous series, this one is only going to be 13 episodes not like the usual 20 episode series.

It`ll be another prequel series, set after Star Trek - Enterprise and before Star Trek - The Original Series. I won`t be surprised if they bring in Ferengi or the Borg in the series. There`s only so much you can do with the Klingons.

Star Trek Discovery Logo of the new series


Star Wars Rogue 1, Trailer 216/8/12 19:56

The second Star Wars - Rogue One trailer has been released to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Whilst some scenes are what we`ve seen before, there are some new scene such as the Death star causing a solar eclipse over a desert planet. The planet is not Tatooine but a new planet known as Jeddah which is spelt in the same way as the city in western Saudi Arabia.

We don`t get to learn much but we do see a glimpse of the old favourite, Darth Vader doing just his usual breathing exercise. As to who is playing Darth Vader, it remains a mystery as yet, there had been rumours, it would be Hayden Christensen but according to a Google search, the role is played by Spencer Wilding. Darth Vader is only a guest star this time, the main antagonist is believed to be Director Krennic but there`s no sign of Palpatine. Although not confirmed and just a rumour, maybe we get to see Princess Leia being given the plans. It`ll be Carrie Fisher`s face from the originals super imposed on another actresses face if anything. What has been confirmed but you don`t see in the clips is that Bail Organa will be making a guest return.

Death Star above Jeddah


Perseids Meteor Shower16/8/11 19:56

The annual Perseids meteor shower has began this year and is expected to be quite brilliant this year. The cause for it being more spectacular this year is because of the gas giant Jupiter influence on the dust particles and bringing the particles closer into the path of our planet.

The Perseids gets its name from the area of the night sky in which the meteors radiant out from, they come from an area of space within the constellation of Perseus, the Greek Legendary hero who slayed Medusa and Cetus to rescue the princess Andromeda.


Legion has arrived10/08/2016 19:12

The sixth expansion to the World of Warcraft MMORPG has began its rollout to the masses. First released to the masses in the United States on Tuesday and then to Europe on Wednesday and presumeably the rest of the world on Wednesday too. The adventures are set on a newly opened up continent called `The Broken Isles` which holds the Tomb of the fallen Titan, Sargaras. The seal of the island was broken by the Orc Warlock, Gul`dan who at the end of the last expansion was blased into a portal after the demigod Archimonde was killed by players.

What was released as part of the roll out was the ability to roll a Demon Hunter, a new player class which comes in only two races, Night Elf for the Alliance and Blood Elf for the horde. You could only get a Demon Hunter if you have a character over level 70 for that particular server that you are playing on. Therefore, just roll a Death Knight, level it to Northrend and then presumeably, you will be able to get yourself a Demon Hunter. The only people who are able to roll a Demon Hunter are of course only those people who have pre-purchased the expansion. The starting level for Demon Hunters is 98, a hero class. Personally, I think I`ll stick to my tried and trusted Druid and Hunter, my high achievers. Demon Hunters are quite fun and everyone seem to be creating one. In the space of twenty seconds, the Horde guild I`m in recruited thirty Demon Hunters so they`re popularity has taken off quite quick especially seeing as there`s nothing else to do.

For non-Demon Hunter classes, there was a quest chain which takes you to the `Broken Shores` island where you face an army of the Legion controlled by the mad Warlock himself, Gul`dan. In the scenario/raid part, you are teased with the possibility of a truce between the two factions. However, this is Warcraft and the two factions will come to blows in the end. Both factions team up to kill one of Guldan`s bosses and then Gul`dan gains the upper hand and causes a Rift between the two factions again. At the end of both quest lines, we see that both faction leaders, Vol`jin and Varian Wrynn are both killed and new leaders take their place, Anduin Lothar for the Alliance and Lady Sylvanna Windrunner for the Horde. When you watch the Alliance video, it gives the impression that the Horde turned their backs on the Alliance but when you watch the Horde video, you see that Sylvanna had no choice to retreat after Vol`jin was killed. As part of the Demon Hunter questline, you go inside an area called `Vault of Wardens` which will be a future dungeon. Its not long now until the expansion is released fully.

The Invasions has a touch of Rift about it, a rival MMORPG that started off as a pay for but went Free to Play in the End. In Rift, Invasions play a large part of the game so there`s definately some obvious or unitentional copying. Also now the Legion have space ships and they have more than a passing similarity to the Star Destroyer with their rectangular shape. If fact with space ships, its moving more and more towards sci-fi and away from Fantasy.


Juno Space Probe successful arrives in Jupiter`s Orbit05/07/2016 22:13

After a journey of 1.8 billion miles taking five years to complete, the Juno space probe has finally reached its target, the gas giant planet,the biggest in our solar system, Jupiter. Its mission is to study the planets gasses and hopefully answer as to whether the centre has a core like our own planet or it is fully gaseous. It is the second major probe to reach its target in as many months, after the New Horizons mission to Pluto reached it target last year. New Horizons flew past Pluto as it was unable to slow down compared to Juno which had thrusters to slow itself down to be captured by Jupiter`s enormous gravity. Juno was a slower probe to get to its target than New Horizons because it had to be slowed down to be grabbed by gravity. After the satellite has finished being useful, it will be directed into Jupiter to prevent it from contaminating Jovian moons that might contain life.

It took a thirty minute burst of its rocket to slow itdown. Although the United States paid for most and built most of the probe, The rockets that were used to slow it down were built in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. Other countries probably had an involvement as well but they haven`t had as much recognition as the Americans. The information about the rockets was first reported in the Standard newspaper, in the U.K.

The picture below is an artists impression of what the encounter would look like if you was looking out of a spaceship window. If you want to know more, visit the official Home for the Juno project. To those distractors, the Juno probe might not find something useful for our survival as a species but spin-off technology very well may do.

N.A.S.A. artist impression of Juno Probe in orbit round Jupiter


Anton Yelchin has Died?19/06/2016 20:09

Anton Yelchin the Russian born U.S. actor has been reportedly killed in a freak accident involving his car in the early hours. He is best remembered for playing Pavel Chekov in the Reboot version of Star Trek. Before that he was remember for playing a young Kyle Reese in the four Terminator film, Terminator Salvation. Police were alerted when the actor didn`t turn for rehersals.

It was reported on the highly regarded Guardian newspaper amongst others. However Mediamass is reporting it as a death fake. When you look at Mediamass on the internet, its clear that the Guardian is more highly regarded plus also its now been reported on star Trek twitter feed that has died.

Post of Anton Yelchin as Pavel Checkov on the sad news of his death.


Warcraft Movie Review30/05/2016 18:58

SPOILER WARNING After many years in the planning and stop and starts, the Movie has finally arrived. The film`s subtitle, `The Beginning` is a hint of things to come and that there could be more films in the works if this one does well. Its no surprise that this film concentrates on the arrival of the Orcs from Draenor to Azeroth. If you`re coming from a non-Warcraft background, you won`t know the plot or storyline but those of us that do come from that will have a more demanding expectation of the film.

Those who know the lore will expect to see Mannoroth to appear like we saw in the Warlords of Draenor trailer but sadly that the lumbering Pit Lord has not appeared. It starts with an expeditionary group going through the portal and attacking villages in Azeroth. Only the Draenor portal had been built at that time, on the Azeroth end, the portal leads out to a large lake. We only see a brief glimpse of the Draenei who have been captured as Fel-Fuel and we don`t see any part of Draenor except a brief part of Hellfire Peninsula.

The best bits are the recreation of Azeroth, of Stormwind and the Dwarven kingdom of Ironforge but no other kingdom, there`s no Darnassus and the Night Elves or were they Blood Elves were quite laughable in their look to be quite honest. I was expecting a better presentation of the elves. They got the Dwarves right and the Orcs spot on as well. There`s no druids or hunter but there is a scene where Khadgar shows off his mage power. The film does stay faithful to the lore but I just felt it should`ve started with an introductory narrative that so many films do start with and that it should`ve been longer, pushing over 2 and a half hours. That was the weak ponts and also how King Llane Wrynn is killed is also a weak point for me.

If you`re wondering, the film does pass the Bechdel Test where the two leading female characters do talk to one another. There are more females than the Lord of the Rings films and have bigger parts. Lady Taria Wrynn although she doesn`t fight, she does some talking. Garona is the action female of the female characters.

The next film, I`d like to see the creation of the Forsaken , of the Scourge and the rise and subsequent fall of the Arthas Pendragon, better known as the Lich King. Given the level of detail that the designers have put into the game, seeing the Zombies of the Forsaken could push the age restriction up a notch but as the Forsaken and their lore is well known, they have no choice. In the game, the Forsaken aren`t that terrifying because the graphics are poor but if the film is to any justice then zombies need to be realistic.


More Rogue One Character Names Revealed17/05/2016 19:22

Whether by design or unintentionally, we now know the names of some of the new characters in the Star Warsuniverse who will make an appearance in the new film due out at Christmas 2016. The two most important ones are Captain Cassian Andor who we suspect as being the lead male character, maybe even Jyn Erso love interest. Batting for the Galactic Empire is Director Krennic, the man in the white cape in the trailer. What we don`t know yet is what Forest Whitakers character is and who Mads Mikelsen plays, however the later is suspected to be Jyn`s father.

Alan Tudyk, most well known for playing Wash Warren in the short lived Firefly is playing K-250, an enforcement droid that used to be a Galactic Empire robot before being reprogrammed and working for the Rebel Alliance


Rogue One Trailer has been released07/04/2016 23:39

The first trailer has been released showing the first legal footage from the first anthology film, Star Wars - Rogue One has gone public. I say legal, as there have been a few scenes on the web showing what is a non-legitimate leaked release of the film. The film shows the main antagonist, Jyn Erso and gives details about her. Jyn is played by British actress Felicity Jones who was recently seen as Prof. Stephen Hawkins wife in Theory of Everything. After the sorts of comments that followed Star Wars - The Force Awakens about Rey being a female lead, the trolls are going to be working overtime again. There is already speculation that because the descriptions of Rey and Jyn are similar, that they are in fact related as characters.

The character Jyn is a thief, a con-artist and a forger who is sent by the Rebel Alliance on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. The film is probably going to end with the plans being secreted about the Tantive IV which is where Star Wars IV - A New Hope begins. There`s seven months and a few days to go before the release but it looks like its going to be worth it. Hopefully, it won`t borrow any storyline from other films like what Force Awakens did. The trailer is below, click and it`ll open the trailer in a new window.

First full trailer to Star Wars - Rogue One


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