Planet With Three Suns Discovered

Astrophysicists have discovered a distant planet that has not one, not two, but three suns in its sky. While the Jupiter-sized world, named KELT-4Ab, orbits a single star (KELT-A), its system is within close proximity of a binary star, containing KELT-B and KELT-C, which circle each other as part of a larger orbit around KELT-A. Every 4,000 years or so, KELTs A, B, and C fall adjacent to each other and are all visible together in KELT-4Ab’s sky.

The phenomenon was discovered by Research Associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Jason Eastman, who is the lead author of study on KELT-4Ab, which used the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope – two robotic telescopes in Arizona and South Africa, and the origin of the KELT moniker – to observe the curious planet and stars.

“Those two stars would orbit each other every about 30 years, and every 4,000 years they’d make one orbit around KELT-4A,” Eastman told Space.com.

In addition to its three suns, though, KELT-4Ab is curious for another reason: it is a type of planet known as a “hot Jupiter”, which is a gas giant that is positioned close to a sun, an occurrence that, theoretically, cannot yet be explained.

“Hot Jupiters aren’t supposed to exist. None of them,” Eastman said. “Gaseous planets the size of Jupiter are supposed to form much farther out [from their parent star] and stay there, like our own Jupiter did,” he said. “Exactly how they got so close is an outstanding question, but one theory is that it migrates due to hot interactions with a third body — in this case, the third and fourth bodies KELT-BC.”

The two unusual discoveries – the three stars and the “hot Jupiter – may even be related, according to Eastman. “The binary system KELT-4BC may be what ultimately drove the planet KELT-4Ab so close to its star,” he said.

Astronomers Observe Exploding Star for the First Time

For the first time ever, astronomers have recorded the moment at which a star started to explode – known as the “shock breakout” – within the optical wavelength of NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

The astronomy team, led by Peter Garnavich, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, monitored the light levels emitted by sources within 500 galaxies – around 500 trillion stars – over a three-year period in order to detect the early signs of a supernova. The observations led to Kepler monitoring two stars in particular – both red supergiants – that were on the verge of exploding. The massive stellar bodies, KSN 2011a and KSN 2011d, were around 1.2 billion light years away.

“To put their size into perspective, Earth’s orbit about our sun would fit comfortably within these colossal stars,” Garnavich explained on the NASA website.

KSN 2011a and KSN 2011d were then observed exploding. While the Type II supernovae of both stars matched known mathematical models of the phenomena, the explosion KSN 2011a was not preceded by the expected shock breakout.

“In order to see something that happens on timescales of minutes, like a shock breakout, you want to have a camera continuously monitoring the sky,” Garnavich said. “You don’t know when a supernova is going to go off, and Kepler’s vigilance allowed us to be a witness as the explosion began.”

The video below shows KSN 2011d exhibiting the shock breakout prior to its supernova:

“That is the puzzle of these results,” Garnavich added. “You look at two supernovae and see two different things. That’s maximum diversity.”

Reflective Russian Satellite to be Brightest ‘Star’ in the Sky

When you look up at the night sky, the brightest thing you will see is likely to be the Moon. However, a team of Russian engineers want to ensure that the second brightest object isn’t just any other star billions of miles away, but a man-made object!

After reaching their fundraising goal, the team look to launch a satellite that will have no other purpose than to glow brightly. The object is no bigger than a bread bin, but once it is in orbit, it will open up into a pyramid shape of reflective surfaces. The object will stay in a sun-synchronous orbit of 370 miles above the Earth, ensuring it is always in the sunlight, giving it the ability to outshine any other star in the Sky. Unfortunately for the team, not everyone is happy about their project.

While they hope to inspire that anyone can achieve a goal of doing space-bound projects, by giving people something to wonder about when they look up at the sky as it floats around in space, many scientists are concerned that it will cause too much light pollution. While using telescopes and other technologies to view real stars and other space-bound objects, light pollution is a big problem and effectively turning on a big light up there could hinder some scientific efforts.

“We want to show that space exploration is something exciting and interesting, but most importantly that today it is accessible to everybody who is interested,” said project leader Alexander Shaenko to Sputnik News.

There’s not too much concern, though, as the $20,000 project is only said to last for a few weeks, although if their goal is a success, it could inspire others to do the same in the near future. Personally, I can’t wait to see it, it’s a cool idea and hopefully it will give off the right message and encourage people to look up and wonder about the universe, if only for a moment.

Are Aliens Building Their Own Starkiller Base?

Back in October, we brought you the story of a curious star which may be displaying evidence of an alien presence. The star, KIC8462852, positioned between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, was observed through the Kepler Space Telescope exhibiting massive dips in its light output – incomparable to any other star ever observed – with the only logical explanation being that huge foreign bodies were obscuring the star.

While some astronomers argued that the light dips could be caused by passing comets, others claimed that the chances of that were slim, leaving only one other possible explanation: aliens. Now, the comet theory has been debunked, which lends fresh support for some kind of alien presence at KIC8462852.

“The comet-family idea was reasonably put forth as the best of the proposals, even while acknowledging that they all were a poor lot,” Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer from Penn State University, told New Scientist. “But now we have a refutation of the idea, and indeed, of all published ideas.”

Looking at light output data for KIC8462852, spanning from 1890 to 1989, Schaefer was able to determine that the star’s strange light phenomena has been occurring for over 100 years, meaning that passing comets could not have been responsible. According to Schaefer, this “century-long dimming trend requires an estimated 648,000 giant comets (each with 200 km diameter) all orchestrated to pass in front of the star within the last century,” an explanation that is “completely implausible.”

Could it really be aliens? And why would they be blocking light from a sun for over 100 years? One explanation could be that another species is building their equivalent of a Dyson Sphere around the star. A Dyson Sphere – named for famed astrophysicist Freeman Dyson – is a theoretical superstructure that surrounds a star, designed to harness that star’s light and heat to make the artificial shell habitable. Or, for a more contemporary comparison, Starkiller Base, the First Order’s planet-destroying weapon, constructed around a planet and using a star for its power, from Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  A new paper written by Schaefer may support the idea.

“The century-long dimming and the day-long dips are both just extreme ends of a spectrum of timescales for unique dimming events, so by Ockham’s Razor, all this is produced by one physical mechanism,” Shaefer’s paper reads. “This one mechanism does not appear as any isolated catastrophic event in the last century, but rather must be some ongoing process with continuous effects.”

Image courtesy of Danielle Futselaar.

Have You Played These Star Wars Games?

The tales of love, war and pain have echoed for generations, both through the fans of the star wars series and even the world as a whole (we all know the “I am your father line”). Most movies these days get a video game tie-in. something which runs alongside or expands on the movie experience. Star Wars is one of the few series in the world that I can name where the fans have created something beyond the movies, from a religion to an entire universe filled with lore and legends. So why not enjoy some of the less well-known games that expand on this?


 

Lego Star Wars

If you are a fan of the series and have enjoyed the Lego games so far, why not try reliving all six films in Lego Star Wars – The Complete Saga. On sale for 70% off, you can experience everything from the invasion of Naboo to the battle on the moon of Endor. There’s something about Lego versions of classics movies that really makes them stand out and they all the better in split-screen co-op.


 

Star Wars – Republic Commando

The prequel trilogy brought us not only more story and characters, but also a whole new war. While not given much development in the films, the series that have come since have tried to expand on the Clones and given them more than “one size fits all” story lines. Republic Commando looks to do this by telling the tale of a squad of commando, who will infiltrate, dominate and destroy the federation and any that stand against them. With advanced AI and squad dynamics, it’s worth checking out, at only £2.09 till the 1st, why not?


 

Star Wars – Galactic Battlegrounds

We’ve seen the Empire fight the Rebels, we’ve seen the Trade Federation and the Confederate take on the Republic. So why not mix it up a little and have them fight with or against everyone else? Using the same game engine (and game mechanics) that made Age of Empires last for generations, Galactic Battlegrounds lets you fight those battles you didn’t even know you wanted to fight. Not a fan of Jar Jar Binks? See who wins in a Wookie vs Gungan all out battle, why not have the people of Naboo go against the Empire or maybe even see if the Republic could have fought off the Empire?

With the Star Wars Collection on sale from £75 to £17.47 till the first of December, it may be worth expanding on your Star Wars universe ready for the Force Awakens on the 17th.

Our Galaxy’s Strangest Star Could Have Alien Craft in Orbit

There is a star, positioned between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, which has astronomers in a tizz. When viewed through the Kepler Space Telescope, this particular star exhibits strange properties; the telescope observed huge dips in light levels from the star, notable because they could not be explained by any naturally occurring phenomena.

“We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

It seems that the star is being orbited by a number of objects large enough to block out considerable levels of light from the star. The objects are too small and too close to the star to be planets, yet they have not been consumed by its gravity; they remain in orbit.

Boyajian, who heads up the Planet Hunters organisation, published a paper regarding the strange star. While it poses numerous possible explanations, the only one deemed plausible by Boyajian – that another star passed through this star system, pulling with it a collection of comets, and deposited them into the orbit of the unusual star – relies on a huge coincidence. Another contributor to the paper suggests that the objects are consistent with “swarm of megastructures,” and posits that they could be huge solar panels built by an alien civilisation.

“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

Boyajian and his team will continue to observe the star, hoping that the answer to its mysteries will become apparent. At present, though, many of the astronomers involved believe aliens could the most plausible cause.

Thank you The Atlantic for providing us with this information.

Gift Cards At Discounts? Maybe Not For Star Citizen

Star Citizen is a game we’ve reported on many times. The game started as an idea and took to the crowdfunding platform to support its big dreams of being a Space Fighter, First Person Shooter and Role Playing game all while allowing thousands of players to interact with one another. It can claim the title, and will be able to for a while I suspect, the title of most crowd funded game in history, with a total of $89,612,253 raised so far. This is set to continue to rise as players join the game through early entry bundles and purchase their ships ready for the big release in the future. One player has spent over $22,000 on the game, raising the question about how much are you willing to pay for those early bonuses to your games?

With the release of their latest ship (pictured above), the Endeavour is designed as a modular research vessel. From a research station to a portal hospital the Endeavour is set to be the first of a series of ships that can be customised and designed based on the user’s preference. Coming in at $420 though, some people may not feel comfortable shelling that out for an in-game item. So why not try to save some money by buying those gift cards that people can always get you for a tiny discount?

Sadly this isn’t the case of Star Citizen who are charging more than their value for the digital gift cards. The prices are listed below:

$10 gift card – $12
$25 gift card – $30
$50 gift card – $60
$100 gift card – $120

This works out at you only getting 80% of what you pay sent in the gift card, meaning that $420 Endeavour will set your friend back $504 in gift cards.

I am personally not a huge of buy before play DLC and being able to play Star Citizen (even in its incomplete form) means you can see the benefits of what you buy, but when you are spending hundreds of pounds, dollars or euros on something or want to gift your friend with something, gift cards are normally a good way to find a discount in exchange for the hassle of handling them.

Do you play Star Citizen? Have you brought a ship using real money? Are you as confused as to why the gift cards cost more than they are worth as we are?

Thank you PCGamesN for the information and the image.

Star Wars BB-8 Drone Now Avaliable For Purchase

Star Wars has been a big franchise for many years now, and with the recent trailer announcing the new few movies fans have been up in arms about two aspects from the trailer. Firstly the cross guard light saber, a fun little addition with a dark red blade that, if you slipped, would have you losing a finger or two. The second feature everyone wanted to know about was the droid. The droids were always a big thing in Star Wars (“These are not the droids you’re looking for”), with C3p0 and R2D2 making appearances in all the films, with cute lovable beeps and the addition (in a Doctor Who flying Dalek like fashion) that adding jet boosters to a wheel based droid is not cheating. The latest droid went a step further, containing a single ball with a tiny R2D2 semi circle type head atop. Well, now you can buy one.

Available as of Friday, the BB-8 Drone can be purchased from Best Buy, Apple retail stores and Sphero’s own website (don’t worry the device is compatible with both Android and Apple devices). Coming in at $149.99 (£98.28 approximately) the droid is anything but cheap, but after being created by Sphero, a company known for their ball based drones, you can guarantee that you’ll have hours of fun running the thing around your house.

With hours of fun and a nice piece of Star Wars meromelia added to your house, what Star Wars fan wouldn’t want one?

Thank you The Verge for the information and the image.

Beam Me Up: Star Trek Communicators Are Now A Thing!

So most people have seen Star Trek, in one form or another the series has helped shaped everything from television to science fiction as a whole. With alien species planning to take over the universe and rogue admirals breaking laws and rules left right and centre the show has helped captivate so many minds and created so many memories. Now you can start living that dream of being a member of the Enterprise with a Star Trek Communicator of your own.

The Wand company are dedicated to making functional copies of props from your favourite shows, and in this case they have really gone beyond the atmosphere with a Star Trek communicator shaped like those found in the original series. Based on 3D scans taken from an original prop, the device is made up of aluminium and die-cast metal with a textured ABS giving it that finished science fiction look.

Priced at roughly £100 the device is not a cheap one, but for those who are interested the device is Bluetooth enabled. This means you can pair it up with your phone or PC and have your calls taken on a star trek communicator, or even play your music through its speakers.

Being a Star Trek fan this is a great step forward, now they just need to create the comm badges from the Next Generation and my dreams will be complete!

Thank you NyDailyNews for the information.

Spoiler Alert: Star Wars Creates Waves with Han solo

With the new instalment of the Star Wars series coming out later this year, Disney had to find a way of somehow tying in the older cast into the newer films. This will most likely come in a multitude of ways, primarily comics and TV spin-offs.

In the recent launch of the Marvel comic book line, the sixth instalment threw a huge spanner in the works. The comics are based into the time period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Remember back to the films and you will likely hit upon the intense connection between Han Solo and Leia.

[Spoiler]

On the last page, a ship lands in a field with Han and Leia at the base, when a gun touting woman casually walks down to them. In this confrontation, it turns out that the woman is called Sana Solo, Hans’ Wife. The final scene of the comic has Han hold his head in shame, Leia with a blank/ shocked expression and Sana questioning who Leia is.

We all know that Han is a space-bucks loving scoundrel, who only initially seemed to be introduced to the Star Wars timeline to earn money to pay off his bounty. As time progress, his relationship with the rest of the characters grew more intense.

Now considering the placement in time that this occurs, it is obvious that Sana has zero effect on the timeline, but now it opens the questions of what happened to Sana?

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing this information.

‘May the 4th be With You’

Calling all Star Wars fans, you know what you’re getting into here. Lucasarts has announced a new deal ready for the unofficial Star Wars day; ready? They plan on re-introducing some of the classic games onto the PC with previously announced partner Good Old Games (GOG.com) and new partner, Steam.

The games in question are those from the X-Wings and TIE Fighter series, some pretty old school space sims on offer to go with the back catalogue of games already offered by both vendors.

So GOG.com has given you the reasonable (and easier) choice of two bundles, the Blaster Bundle and the Saber Bundle; I know which I would go for. Steam on the other hand has just given you some Force tingling deals across the entire range with some pre-defined bundles as standard; check out the deals on the Steam sale page.

So who can’t wait for the next film instalment? Are you furiously watching the old sagas in preparation so you can walk into the cinema with your hood over your eyes and constantly repeat phrases? Are you going to be suited and booted with your light saber in hand? Why not let us know in the comments or over on our forums.

Daniel Radcliff Set to Star in Upcoming Grand Theft Auto Movie

Daniel Radcliffe, widely known for his role in the Harry Potter movies, is reportedly undergoing talks with BBC TV officials to get the lead role in an upcoming Grand Theft Auto inspired movie.

Before everyone gets overly excited expecting to see a lot of explosions, excessive drug use or whatever you may think appropriate for Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto, you should know that the upcoming title will be based on the book Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto.

The book is said to emphasise the high-profile fight between Rockstar Games creator Sam Houser and Miami lawyer Jack Thompson in the wake of the release of GTA 3. Hollywood Reporter also states that Radcliffe is to play Houser in the movie.

“Unlike many coding success stories, Grand Theft Auto was not created in Silicon Valley — it was the brainchild of a bunch of British gaming geniusus who had known each other since their school days,” BBC wrote in a blog.

“GTA offered gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they could behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American gangland underworld.”

“But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding success led to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values it encourages; and above all from moral-campaigners, who have fought passionately to stop it.”

Lastly, Owen Harris, the director of Misfits and Black Mirror, is said to be in charge of the upcoming movie, which is expected to begin shooting in late April.

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information

Did Apple’s Jony Ive Design the New Lightsabers?

Yesterday we reported on the new profile of Apple’s Jony Ive, the senior designer behind the look of many of Apple’s iconic products. There is a host of interesting tidbits of information in that profile, covering things from the Apple Watch to Ive’s secret design lab. However, one little section in that profile talks about the design of something deadly, something from out of this world.

That is of course the new lightsabers to featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the upcoming Star Wars movie. Apparently Ive, more suited to designing things made from aluminium and glass, gave director J.J. Abrams some “very specific” suggestions about the future design of lightsabers – suggestions that Abrahams says he listened to.

“Ive once sat next to J. J. Abrams at a boozy dinner party in New York, and made what Abrams recalled as “very specific” suggestions about the design of lightsabres. Abrams told me that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” would reflect those thoughts, but he wouldn’t say how.”

While Ive says that “it was just a conversation”, it’s still pretty interesting to think the new lightsabers might just have been designed by the same person that designed the iPhone.

Source: The New Yorker Via: The Verge

Watch: The Millennium Falcon Drone

Drones come in all shapes and sizes these days, but we’ve never seen one quite like this.

Olivier-FR designed this drone to resemble everyone’s favourite spacecraft – the Millennium Falcon. The drone is probably as close as you could get in controlling your own Millennium Falcon, and you can too – the creator of this novelty UAV has created a complete guide to building your own.

Watch it in flight bellow and see how to build one for yourself right here.

Source: The Next Web

Watch: Star Wars Trailer in GTA V – Without Mods

Someone attempted to recreate the Star Wars trailer in GTA V. Now of course, without making any modifications to the game, you’d think that would be a pretty difficult task.

Well Powerlight-13 on YouTube didn’t think so and rather creatively reproduced the entire trailer using only in-game characters and vehicles. It all comes together quite well, but we’ll leave you to decide whether the plane at the end bears any resemblance to the Millennium Falcon.

Source: Kotaku

Skywalker Middle Name sees British Womans Passport Declined

Laura Elizabeth Skywalker Matthews, from Southend, decided to honor her favorite series of movies in a somewhat-permanent way – legally adding Skywalker as a middle name. Although no issues have been seen from this previously, she’s recently found out the hard way that it may not be for the best.

At 29 years old, Matthews has this name added to her bank accounts and drivers license, but hit a brick wall when applying for an official British passport – an outright rejection.

Matthews claims that this name change was brought around several years as a joke, but now she’s seeing some unfortunate consequences.

A representative of Britain’s Home Office confirmed the issue to the BBC, stating that name-changes are not accepted on passports if they are subject to copyright of trademarks:

“We have a duty to ensure the reputation of the UK passport is not called into question or disrepute”

Maybe we all should think twice before changing our middle name or Voldemort or Princess Peach. What do you think? Is this law unrealistic, or is the government protecting themselves from a real threat?

Cover image courtesy of The Gnomon Workshop

Article image courtesy of Board Game Geek

 

Pixeltrek – Kill Time on the USS Enterprise

Just finished your University Exams or having an exceedingly slow day at work? Pixeltrek is a brand new way to waste away your day. Productive or not – you decide! Created with retro pixellated graphics, users can navigate through the USS Enterprise from “Star Trek” to wherever they wish, suited up as ‘Lieutenant Commander Data’.

All this game needs is WASD keys and a bunch of spare time – so be prepared to spend countless hours strolling around the Enterprise and looking into every look and cranny. Unfortunately there is no sound included in this game, but everything else has been carefully paid attention to with different decorating designs for things such as sleeping quarters and a well designed bridge. Set your phasers to stun, it’s time to explore!

Image courtesy of Pixeltrek

“Hand of God” Spotted By NASA Telescope

NASA captured some X-Ray images with the help of its Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR for short. The image resulted in a hand-shaped celestial object that resembles the “Hand of God”.

“NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light,” NuSTAR principal investigator Fiona Harrison, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement.

It illustrates a pulsar wind nebula, produced by the dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova. The remnants created afterwards a pulsar, called PSR B1509-58, or B1509 for short, which spins around 7 times per second blowing a wind of particles into material ejected during the star’s death throes. As these particles interact with nearby magnetic fields, they produce an X-ray glow in the shape of a hand. Scientists however aren’t sure whether the ejected material actually assumes the shape of a hand, or whether its interaction with the pulsar’s particles is just making it appear that way.

The red cloud appearing at the fingertips is a separate structure called RCW 89. Astronomers believe the pulsar’s wind may be heating the cloud and producing the low-energy X-ray glow.The X-ray energies seen by NuSTAR range from 7 to 25 kiloelectron volts, or keV, whereas the energies seen by Chandra range from 0.5 to 2 keV.

This could be an example of pareidolia, a phenomenon which makes people see familiar things in unusual shapes. However, despite its supernatural appearance, the “Hand of God” figure was produced by a natural astrophysical phenomena.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable

Free Toilet Paper Or Inexpensive Advertising Star Toilet Paper Has Your Behind

Tired of paying for toilet paper, I sure am, that is why I am always looking for a deal or coupons for toilet paper, after all it just goes down the toilet with the other waste!

We use toilet paper for many different things, from packing material, cleaning eyeglasses, nose care, removing make-up, to cover the toilet seat, and of course the most common use to wipe our hineys! How many rolls of TP do you use each day? I have seen a single person use an entire roll in one day, just on their nose. While I have seen others who have used up entire rolls in the bathroom. What would you do if you could get your TP for FREE? I would get the free TP, but that is me, I of course would prefer the soft multi-ply TP, though anything will do.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_9gvyMPwUk[/youtube]

Star Toilet Paper is a great way to keep consumers looking at their advertisements, since customers will likely be stuck in some stinky situations with only the TP to read. Though there are likely to be some awesome coupons, and even some cool QR codes for those of you with smart phones. At the same time, if you have a venue, you could have the opportunity to get the FREE toilet paper! So if you are looking for a new way to advertise, or if you’re looking to keep costs down, check out their website.

Get a FREE SAMPLE, don’t forget to let them know that eTeknix sent you haha!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKq2EaGDTdI[/youtube]

Image courtesy of Star Toilet Paper.