Universe Guide

Universe Guide Blog Articles Archive 5

How big is the Universe?17/02/2016 20:24

The truth is we don`t know. The furthest object so far discovered is a galaxy known as EGS8p7 (EGSY-2008532660) which is located in the constellation of Ursa Major in the northern hemisphere. If you search the internet for furthest galaxy discovered, you may get a different answer. I base the statement on the most recent article that I could find on the subject which in this case is the article from Nature World which was written in October 2015. Scientists might find a further galaxy and in which case this article will be obselete.

The galaxy is 13.2 Billion years old and the light has been travelling at light speed since that time. It was born about 500-600 million light years after the big bang occurred, galaxies didn`t just pop into existance, they evolved. However as the universe is expanding, the galaxy will have moved away further from us since then and therefore will be further away than 13.2 billion light years. Theres most likely a galaxy that is even further away from us than that but its light has not reached us. If thats the case, the Big Bang happened a lot earlier than we thought.

According to Universe Today, the observable universe has a diameter of 92 billion light years across. The reasoning for this is the cosmic background radiation which is the left overs of the big bang. When you turn on an untuned television, you see static, that is radiation from the beginning of time.

The universe is expanding at the speed of light ref:Cornell University and light from EGS8p7 will one day disappear from our skies. The galaxy will still exist but any evidence to indicate its existance will have disappeared. There is a theory that if all the light from every galaxy, both local and distant was visible, space would be white not black.


What is the largest star?16/02/2016 21:33

This article is concerned with radius of the star rather than its mass. If you were to do a search on the internet for the answer to this question, you wouldn`t get a definitive answer as you would if you asked `What is the largest planet in the solar system?`. Which the answer to that question is of course, Jupiter. If however you did `What is the largest star?`, you will get a selection of answers. Some will quote VY Canis Majoris, other sites will champion NML Cygni and then finally others of which I am one will say that the largest star is UY Scuti. Why the discrepancy, well, if you look at the dates when the articles were put on the system and then look at when UY Scuti was announced as the biggest star, 2012. ref:wiki You`ll understand why the discrepancy. The more recent the article, the more likely to say UY Scuti.

All those and plus a few others are gigantic stars, many thousands of times bigger than our own Sun. UY Scuti is rated at being 1,700 times the size of our own Sun. If UY Scuti was placed at the centre of our own solar system, the Earth would be inside. UY Scuti reaches to out past the orbits of Jupiter and even Saturn. These stars are all red hypergiants, most likely at the end of their lives at a point when nearly all their fuel is used up and is about to explode. Most of these stars are variable stars, these are stars that pulsate, their size changes over time. For example, VX Sagittarri, another hypergiant star pulsats over a period of 737 days according to the Hipparcos Star Catalog.

The universe is so vast, there could well be a star that would make UY Scuti look insignificant as UY makes the sun. We have just not spotted that star yet. The problem with star size is that the larger the star, the shorter it lives for. Our own Sun has a lifetime of 10 billion years of which we are half-way through but Proxima Centauri, a small red dwarf star which is a mere 4 light years away and our closest star neighbour is expected to have a very long time, one that could be trillions of years. If we ever leave Earth, we should hope for a hospitable planet orbiting round Proxima to continue the human race.

We may never find actual biggest star in the universe because it is so vast and that there are so many galaxies out there that we couldn`t measure all the stars in each galaxy. For the time being we should be content with UY Scuti as the largest for the answer until a bigger star is considered. A special mention should go to Betelgeuse, in the constelaltion of Orion is a giant, not as big as the others but still big and is expected to go supernova in the next million years. When the other stars will go pop so to speak, I haven`t discovered anything yet.


Battlestar Galactica moves to the movies14/02/2016 16:17

It doesn`t seem all that long ago since Battlestar Galactica was last on the television in the form of four series. That was a remake of the earlier late seventies television series featuring all the same characters plus a few extras. What with the rejuventated Star Wars franchise with its Star Wars - The Force Awakens doing well at the cinema, Universal Pictures have started to think about rejuvenating its sci-fi franchise once more.

In brief, the series tells of an armada of ships fleeing their home worlds in search of Earth in the hope of finding help against the robotic Cylons. Leading the fleet is Commander William Adama as he has done in both the original and reimagined series. Both previous series have been on television because their stories are so long and only a series can do that justice. That hasn`t put off the Universal management from doing a new series including a film series. ref:Guardian

There have been movies before, in the original line, they had films containing scenes of episodes merged together. The 2003 series had Razor and The Plan films both of which were original, although there were a few scenes copied from the episodes but mainly they were new.

They have allegedly found a writer and a director to make the films. No news has been released as to who would be cast in the roles of the lead characters. It is alleged that Lisa Joy of Westworld fame is scripting the story with Francis Lawrence in the frame to direct. Lawrence has provoked the largest amount of noise as to whether he is best to direct or not. ref:Deadline


The Search for the new Planet X or should that be Planet IX22/01/2016 20:50

A new story has been doing the rounds now that there could in fact be a new nineth planet out there. If you recall, Pluto used to have the title of the nineth planet in the solar system until it was unceremoniously downgraded to that of a dwarf planet. The grounds for downgrading was that the object had not cleared the orbit round the sun of other objects. It had passed the other two requirements, large enough to be spherical in shape and be in orbit round the Sun, Caltech have released an artists impression of what the planet could possibly look like, it is in no way what it actually looks like because its not been located yet. N.A.S.A. are being open-minded on the news at the moment.

Artists Impression of the New Nineth Planet

What had caused the downgrading was the discovery of an object in the kuiper belt that was bigger than Pluto. However on closer examination, the object Eris was found to be not bigger than Pluto but not by much. One of the scientists that had discovered Eris is now proclaiming that there might well be a nineth planet out there, Dr Mike Brown, aka PlutoKiller which is also his twitter account name.

The new planet hasn`t been confirmed, it is theorized as being out there somewhere. The theory is based on the fact that objects in the kuiper belt are not behaving as they should be based on the laws of physics as we know them currently. A nineth planet could help explain their paths. Neptune was first theorized and calculated before it was actually discovered so there is every possibility that the planet is out there. The planet would be too far from the Sun to sustain life as we know it. The planet is possibly a gas giant like Neptune. The new planet is highly elliptical and would possibly take something like 10,000 to 20,000 years to do an orbit. The picture below shows the believed path of the orbit of the planet. It is so far away that we would never be able to send a probe to like we did with the new horizons mission to pluto probe because of the distance unless we developed faster than light technology.

Orbit of the New Nineth Planet

Its not the first time there`s been a theory of something out there. There is a theory that there is a brown dwarf star called Nemesis that orbits near our Solar System. It is responsible it is alleged for sending comets and asteroids that are in the Oort cloud our way and say one of those displaced objects was the cause of the mass extinction of the dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.

Names for the planet have been bounded around on the net as Nibaru and New Pluto. Whatever it is, it will be named after an old god like all the planets except Earth. When the IAU ran a competition to name planets and stars, they chose god names for those stars such as Ran (previously known as Epsilon Eridani and to a certain extent Sadira).


Forget Skywalker and Solo, how about Rey Palpatine?13/01/2016 20:44

Ever since the new characters in Star Wars were revealed, there`s been speculation as to their past, there`s been Finn Calrissian, son of legendary Lando Calrissian and Rey Solo, daughter of Han Solo. However we now know that are unlikely true but have not been fully disproved as yet.

Finn was conscripted into the First Order from a very young age and was only known by his FN-2187 until he freed Poe Dameron who rewarded the stormtrooper deserter with the nickname of Finn. Its unlikely that he was ever connected to Lando in anyway apart from possibly hailing from the same planet as him and I`m not talking about the gas giant of Bespin. Also he could be a relative of Mace Windu given his light sabre skills or at least his attempt at them. Whereas the original trilogy was father vs son, this new trilogy could be about grandchildren.

Most speculation on Reys background has been on Luke Skywalker and the Solos (Han Solo and his wife Princess Leia). If Rey was a child of one of those three, she would therefore be related directly to (sister) or closely related (cousin) to Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. If Rey was a Solo why was she deserted on Jakku? However, there`s a new theory in that she is the daughter or granddaughter of Palpatine, the Emperor who oversaw the Galactic Empire. At the end of Star Wars - The Force Awakens, both Luke and Rey stared one another out in the last shot of the film, it could be that he knew who she was. If she was Luke`s daughter, where`s Mara-Jade who in the expanded universe is Luke`s wife. Why would Luke hide his daughter and then go away from her, why not hide with her?

Palpatine theory is a possiblity, although in the films, he isn`t seen to have a wife or a relation but that doesn`t mean he didn`t have a secret wife or girlfriend. There are rumours that he could`ve caused the virgin birth of Anakin Skywalker by trying to experiment with midi-chlorins when Palpatine visited Tatooine. A relation of Palpatine would definately be a twist.


2016 - A Year To Look Forward To01/01/2016 17:43

Real Space

The first item of interest in the new year is comet Catalina, which should be viewable at the very start of the year, i.e. literally 1st of January. The Comet can be located going from Centaurus, through Virgo and then finally in Bootes where it will be visibly near Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes. If you`re hoping for a 1997 Hale-Bopp bright comet, you might be disappointed.

On March 8/9th, there will be a Total Solar eclipse that can be seen by Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and from locations in the Pacific ocean. A partial eclipse will affect people in India, North Western Australia, Japan and Alaska.

All the Meteor Showers will appear as expected starting with the Quadrantids in the constellation of Bootes. None are expected to produce out of the ordinary heavy showers this year sadly, they should all perform as usual.

Fictional Space

The first big "space" film will feature alien Clark Kent as he faces competition from Bruce Wayne - Batman in the first Justice League film. The film sees the two iconic DC Comic characters beat each other up until they decide its unwinnable and decide to work together to defeat a bigger enemy, rumoured to be Doomsday. Too much information in trailers these days.

After having been shunted and moved because of Star Wars - The Force Awakens, the film of the MMORPG World of Warcraft finally gets a release in June of the year. It should be noted that this film is based primarily on the earlier Warcraft game, the RTS Strategy and not the MMORPG game which currently has five million users. Warcraft is currently the only paid subscription based game of its type. It has been hemorrhaging over the years as the producers Blizzard Entertainment seemingly getting disinterested when you look at the fact that the amount of content you get per expansion is getting less and less all the time. The new expansion, simply named Legion is due to come out some time before 21st September, most likely to coincide with the release of the new expansion.

We will see the new Star Trek film, simply called Star Trek Beyond and this time we get to see Capt. James Tiberius Kirk face a new alien threat and finally leave this solar system for adventure futher afield. Yes, they did go to other worlds in the previous two reboot films, but they both ended up coming back to Earth so lets hope they don`t make the same mistake. The director has changed, its now Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fam instead of the previous J.J. Abrams. The new film was co-written by Simon Pegg who plays Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scotty Scott, the ships engineer but I doubt the adventure will focus on him.

One year on from the release of Force Awakens, come a standalone film to the Star Wars franchise called Star Wars - Rogue One. Its not so much a standalone but a prequel to Star Wars IV - A New Hope so you could say it was Episode 3.9 because it is set immediately before the events of Episode 4. The story focuses on totally new characters on the Rebel Alliance side plus also appearances from Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. The lead antagonist is expected to be Tarkin with C.G.I. doing the "acting" for Tarkin who played him sadly passed away.

As a parting shot, I saw this that popped up on my facebook and thought it quite appropriate.

Happy New Year from Captain Jean-Luc Picard


2015 - A Year in Review01/01/2016 16:23

Real Space

Now 2015 is just a memory, one of many many years that has gone before since the start of the universe, known globally as the Big Bang. It was a year in which we had our first look at Pluto, the nineth planet until that it, it was downgraded to dwarf planet status. There`s already a campaign going on in getting it reinstated as a planet. It was downgraded because its path around the Sun was obstructed and not clear. If they had kept Pluto as a planet, then we`d probably have had a tenth planet in the form of Eris, an object in the kuiper belt that is roughly the same size as Pluto. Eris was the reason why Pluto status was looked at. At the time, Eris was thought to be bigger but Pluto is a touch bigger. New Horizons won`t be redirected to Eris as its too far from Pluto. The reason why such interest was shown in Pluto was because of the arrival of the New Horizons probe finally arrived and took some stunning pictures. It was the first time we`d seen a picture of the planet so clear. New Horizons isn`t the furthest object from Earth, that accolade goes to the Voyager Space Probes which were launched some twenty-thirty years previous and are still going.

Rosetta Space Probe complete with the lander Philae caught up with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and did some experiments to ascertain whether we could`ve possibly hitch-hiked on a comet to Earth. The initial results was that the comet had the wrong sort of water for human amino acids causing the critics to say it was a waste of time. It could be we chose the wrong comet or comets are not sources for the right amino acids full stop. Later on there was oxygen found in the surrounding gas cloud so not total waste. ref:guardian

Britain got its second astronaut in space, this time the astronaut was sponsored by the Government rather than industry working with the Russian government to get someone up there. The first Briton up in space was Helen Sharman in the earlier nineties. Helen had won a competition to be the first British astronaut. Other "British" astronauts such as Michael Foale and Piers Sellars had to gain American nationality to get into space because it was then British Government policy not to put people into space. Major Tim Peake, an ex-test pilot lifted off just before Christmas and is to stay up for six months doing over 200 experiements.

Although not yet covered on this site is National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.)`s Dawn probe which visited Ceres, a dwarf planet. Ceres is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even though Ceres is a lot closer than Pluto, it took nearly eight years to get to Ceres because of the route it took to get to the planet. It took the long way round, doing a large number of solar orbits till it caught up with Vesta, another asteroid in 2011 and then Ceres in 2015. When Pluto got downgraded, Ceres got upgraded from asteroid to dwarf planet.

Fictional Space

You can`t have not noticed that the biggest film out this year was Star Wars - The Force Awakens, the first film from Disney after having brought the entertainment franchise for $4 Billion a few years ago. It was expected and was true to form to become the biggest film of the year. The fact that it was released to the paying public in December, its release period unlike Jurassic World has not finished and Star Wars has not yet been shown in China with its billion people. The Star Wars film saw the return of the main three characters from the original trilogy, the smuggler Han Solo, the farmboy turned hero Luke Skywalker and his sister, the princess also a courageous rebel alliance fighter, Princess Leia. The film also introduced us to the new heroes, the A.W.O.L. stormtrooper called Finn and the scavenger turned Jedi Rey. It was teased by Kathryn Kennedy that Han Solo might return somehow probably in flashbacks in the next film when she announced that everyone who people saw standing beside her was returning. ref:Daily Mail.

Defiance, the aliens on Earth television series was cancelled after three years. The attached MMO game will continue even though the series has come to an end. Other television series such as Doctor Who was broadcast as usual but Clara who had been the current Doctor`s companion had decided to leave after having been the longest serving companion since the series came back back in last decade.

A Sad Farewell

Veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who was more famous for appearing in Hammer Horror films passed away in June aged 93. He will be best remembered for his Count Dooku in the second two Star Wars prequel films and of playing the Wizard Saruman in both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films of which the last of the Hobbit films came out in 2014, just over a year ago.

The only news connected to the Star Trek entertainment franchise was bad news. Leonard Nimoy, who had played Spock, the Enterprises` chief science officer had passed away at the age of 83 in February. He last played Spock in the last Star Trek film in 2013 Star Trek, Into Darkness albeit a minor role. Before that, he played Spock in the first of the rebooted films, the first of which was Star Trek XI.


Prelude to Litigation - Star Trek31/12/2015 14:21

Fans have always tried to imitate their favourite franchises with their own versions of their characters stories. I admit I did it once when I was young, I wrote my own V story which I called `Resistance`. Before Warner Bros begin legal action, I didn`t sell, it was just for fun for myself and never released, well, back then there was no internet. Well, the internet was about but hadn`t yet taken off with the Web as its become now.

A group of budding film makers launched a kickstarter project and have raised over $1 Million to produce Star Trek Prelude to Axanar and for the amount of money that been spent, it looks very good, see the picture below of Vulcan. Its also attracted well known actors such as Richard Hatch best known as Capt. Apollo and Tom Zarek in the Battlestar Galactica franchise.

It was probably best to sticking to Star Wars fan films as Lucasfilm had been known to be supportive and not be so litigent with fan fiction. There is also the officially recognised starWars.com Fan Film Awards As any Star Trek fan will know, there`s another film coming out next year, Star Trek Beyond which is also the fiftieth anniversary year of the franchise. Could the producers be worried that some people might get confused and see Prelude to Axanar and think thats the Beyond film? I suspect Paramount and the producers of Axanar will come to some sort of friendly arrangement without any court cast coming from it after all its the fans that keep the franchises going. More info at Hollywood Reporter

Screen Shot from Prelude to Axanar


Star Wars Auditions26/12/2015 19:04

The latest film the Star Wars franchise Star Wars - The Force Awakens has just come out and is number one in most if not all markets. The next episode VIII which is due out in May 2017 is due to begin filming next month. The next film is coming out on the fortieth anniversary of the first film, Star Wars IV - A New Hope. If you got what it takes, they are currently taking casting calls so you could be the Lead Stormtrooper of Ensign Goode. ref:MovingCastingCall

If you can remember a few years back, the producers began a casting call for the new faces for the films.

Rachel who was decribed as quite young (17/18) when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.

Thomas has grown up without a father`s influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn`t have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can`t take life too seriously.

Out of the casting of thousands, it was announced that Pip Anderson and Crystal Clarke had got the roles. However when the film came out, their characters became Lead Stormtrooper and Ensign Goode. Neither of these characters are the main characters in the film which I suspect a lot of people were hoping it to be when they lined up for the auditions. The winners became minor parts in the film. Can`t remember what happened to those characters when I saw the film but neither stood out.

The lead characters went to Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn), both from London, United Kingdom and both having been in productions before. John played Moses and Daisy had played a character in Casualty. Mark Hamill got his part from open auditioning. Back when Mark got his, no one knew anything about the film, no one knew how good or bad the film was going to be.

A definate requirement for the part is that you can work in the United Kingdom as that is where like most of the films in the series was made. Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones and the following Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith were both made in Sydney, Australia.

If you do plan to do some auditioning, just make sure you`re better than these.... (Saturday Night Live Spoof)

Saturday Night Live Spoof of <a href=/fact/stars>star</a> Wars Casting.


Episode VIII and Beyond18/12/2015 14:43

CONTAINS REAL AND POSSIBLE SPOILERS Nothing has been said yet about what will or won`t happen in Episode VIII, Episode VII has just come out in the cinemas to good review and good numbers of people watching them. What I say here will contain some spoilers What we know is that the storyline will certainly follow Finn and Rey as they continue the fight against the First Order. There`s been mention of an additional lead female character, could this be the character that Gugu Mbatha-Raw might be playing.

Whilst we know that Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are returning, maybe Han Solo by way of back story. We know that Disney are planning on doing a Han Solo spin off movie or two in the near future but that will feature a younger actor and its joked along the lines of "When Han Solo met Chewbacca".

According to the Daily Mail, Kathleen Kennedy has said the entire cast will be returning, however can`t see that given Star Wars penchant for killing off characters in films. Additionally, a classic character will be coming back according to Cinemablend, we can only speculate who that could be, possibly Lando Calrissian?

Stars Wars Character Collage - Prequels and Originals


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