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My Birkbeck Journey

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The Orionids Meteor Shower 2017

THE ORIONID meteor shower promises to dazzle stargazers with a spectacular display of shooting stars TONIGHT. But what is the best time too watch the meteor shower?

When its the Orionids meteor shower? 

If you can’t view it, either it being cloudy or heavey lit area, Slooh will be Live streaming the event from tonight. Join Paul Cox, Dr. Paige Godfrey, and Bob Berman for a decidedly casual and far-ranging chat as as we train our telescopes on the Orionids. SLOOH Live Event of the Orionid Meteor Shower

The Orionids light up the night sky every year towards the end of October in “one of the most beautiful showers of the year”, according to Nasa.

The meteor shower will peak in the early of hours of Saturday (October 20) and once again in the early hours of Sunday (October 22). Sporadic meteors have already been dashing across the night sky from October 15 and should remain visible until November.

During the peak, stargazers can expect anywhere up to 50 meteors per hour, though this year Nasa believes that the numbers may not be as spectacular.

Nasa’s Jane Houston Jones said: “The Orionids peak on October 20, a dark, moonless night. Look near Orion’s club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour. “Use binoculars to look for bright asteroid 7 Iris in the constellation Aries. Newbies to astronomy should be able to spot this magnitude 6.9 asteroids even from the city.”

What is the best time to view the Orionids meteor shower?

The peak of the Orionids will be visible anywhere on Earth in the early morning hours of tonight and tomorrow night, usually after midnight and just before dawn.

The best time for skywatchers to head outside is usually around 2am when the shower is at its most intense.

 

Orionids emerging in the Orion constellation
GETTY: Orionids emerge near to the Orion constellation in the sky

Orionids 2017: Shooting star dashing in the sky
GETTY:  Orionids 2017: NASA expects 15-20 meteors an hour during the shower’s peak
Star gazers will be aided this year by the lack of moonlight which should keep the skies clear of any hindering light pollution.

But Storm Brian will make the sky overcast tonight much of the UK as the weather bomb unleashes strong winds and rainstorms.

A Met Office spokesman said: “There’s quite a lot of cloud around this evening and overnight. The best chance of seeing them will be in the early hours before dawn.”  He said that the clearest skies will be from 3am in the eastern part of England across East Anglia, the South East, Lincolnshire and the Midlands.”

To get the best views, stay away from any sources of light pollution and give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark of space.

Where will the Orionid meteor shower appear? 

The Orionids derive their name from there point of origin next to the Orion constellation, which ascends in the east.

But the shower’s radiant point is mostly irrelevant because the meteors will shoot out in all sorts of directions, and usually remain unseen until about 30 degrees from the radiant.

However, if you spot a streaking meteor, you should be able to trace its path back to its origin next to Orion’s club.

What are the Orionids?

The spectacular shooting stars are remnants of the prolific Halley’s Comet, which visits Earth every 74 to 79 years.

When the comet passes through the solar system, chunks (Debris) of ice and rock break off from the comet thanks to the sun, and trail in the comet’s path. The first recorded reports of the shower date back to 1839, when it was spotted in America.

The Orionids are incredibly fast meteors and crash into Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 66 km/s. Many of the falling stars leave ionised trails of glowing gas in their path.

 

Photo Of THe Day from NASA

Orionid Meteors – Astronomy Photo of the Day

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Orionid Meteors Over Turkey 
Credit & Copyright: Tunc TezelExplanation: Meteors have been flowing out from the constellation Orion. This was expected, as mid-October is the time of year for the Orionids Meteor Shower. Pictured above, over a dozen meteors were caught in successively added exposures over three hours taken this past weekend from a town near BursaTurkey. The above image shows brilliant multiple meteor streaks that can all be connected to a single point in the sky just above the belt of Orion, called the radiant. The Orionids meteors started as sand sized bits expelled from Comet Halley during one of its trips to the inner Solar System. Comet Halley is actually responsible for two known meteor showers, the other known as the Eta Aquarids and visible every May. Next month, the Leonids Meteor Shower from Comet Tempel-Tuttle might show an even more impressive shower from some locations.

 

Source:  https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap061023.html

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Dark Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.Dark Molecular Cloud Barnard 68 
Image Credit: FORS Team8.2-meter VLT AntuESOExplanation: Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud. Here, a high concentration of dust and molecular gas absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars. The eerily dark surroundings help make the interiors of molecular clouds some of the coldest and most isolated places in the universe. One of the most notable of these dark absorption nebulae is a cloud toward the constellation Ophiuchus known as Barnard 68pictured here. That no stars are visible in the center indicates that Barnard 68 is relatively nearby, with measurements placing it about 500 light-years away and half a light-year across. It is not known exactly how molecular clouds like Barnard 68 form, but it is known that these clouds are themselves likely places for new stars to form. In fact, Barnard 68 itself has been found likely to collapse and form a new star system. It is possible to look right through the cloud in infrared light.

 

From: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171008.html

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Eclipsosaurus Rex

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Eclipsosaurus Rex 
Image Credit & CopyrightFred Espenak (MrEclipse.com)Explanation: We live in an era where total solar eclipses are possible because at times the apparent size of the Moon can just cover the disk of the Sun. But the Moon is slowly moving away from planet Earth. Its distance is measured to increase about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) per year due to tidal friction. So there will come a time, about 600 million years from now, when the Moon is far enough away that the lunar disk will be too small to ever completely cover the Sun. Then, at best only annular eclipses, a ring of fire surrounding the silhouetted disk of the too small Moon, will be seen from the surface of our fair planet. Of course the Moon was slightly closer and loomed a little larger 100 million years ago. So during the age of the dinosaurs there were more frequent total eclipses of the Sun. In front of the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College in Wyoming, this dinosaur statue posed with a modern total eclipse, though. An automated camera was placed under him to shoot his portrait during the Great American Eclipse of August 21.

 

From: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171007.html

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Global Aurora at Mars

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.Global Aurora at Mars 
Image Credit: MAVENLASP, University of ColoradoNASAExplanation: A strong solar event last month triggered intense global aurora at Mars. Before (left) and during (right) the solar storm, these projections show the sudden increase in ultraviolet emission from martian aurora, more than 25 times brighter than auroral emission previously detected by the orbiting MAVEN spacecraft. With a sunlit crescent toward the right, data from MAVEN’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph is projected in purple hues on the right side of Mars globes simulated to match the observation dates and times. On Mars, solar storms can result in planet-wide aurora because, unlike Earth, the Red Planet isn’t protected by a strong global magnetic field that can funnel energetic charged particles toward the poles. For all those on the planet’s surface during the solar storm, dangerous radiation levels were double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover. MAVEN is studying whether Mars lost its atmosphere due to its lack of a global magnetic field.

 

Source: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171006.html

IT: 1600s Flashback Was Too Disturbing for Theatrical Cut

Actor Bill Skarsgård has revealed that there was a disturbing scene that was cut from the final cut of the IT movie.

In a recent appearance on Variety’s podcast (via Heroic Hollywood), the actor, who plays Pennywise in the record-breaking horror film, admitted that director Andy Muschietti was forced to cut one particularly creepy flashback sequence showing Pennywise before he was the Dancing Clown we all know and love. Here’s how Skarsgard described the sequence:

“There was a scene we shot that was a flashback from the 1600s, before Pennywise [was Pennywise]. The scene turned out really, really disturbing. And I’m not the clown. I look more like myself. It’s very disturbing, and sort of a backstory for what It is, or where Pennywise came from. That might be something worth exploring in the second one. The idea is the ‘It’ entity was dormant for thousands and thousands of years. The [flashback] scene hints on that.”

Along with discussing the cut scene, Skarsgård also talked about how he’s hoping that the second film will delve more into the “metaphysical” aspect of It and the abstract ideas that are present in King’s novel that have yet to be explored on screen. Here is what he said:

“The book is very abstract and metaphysical about what it means to exist and the idea of fantasy and imagination and all of these things. I think that could be cool to explore as well. It’s like, what is Pennywise? He only exists in the imagination of children. If you don’t believe him to be real then he might not be real. There’s an interesting aspect to explore there.”

Recently, it was announced that a director’s cut of IT is on the way, meaning that certain deleted scenes may be added to the original theatrical release. Perhaps this deleted flashback can be added to that cut of the film to tease what’s to come in IT: Chapter Two.

Here is the synopsis for IT:

Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A group of young kids face their biggest fears when they seek answers to the disappearance of children in their hometown of Derry, Maine. They square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film stars Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Olef, Jack Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, and Bill Skarsgard.

“It” pulled in another $19 million at the domestic box office Friday, bringing the Stateside total to nearly $180 million. The movie is now playing in theaters and will be available here soon for you to watch!

D&D’s New Digital Toolset Is A Convincing Argument Against Pen And Paper Purists

An official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons called D&D Beyond has been announced, first at PAX East and now on the D&D website.

D&D Beyond is set to include a host of features that will be useful for players and GMs alike. A built-in compendium should make it easy for people to refer to tables and lore as needed. A character sheet manager will mean that you’ll have much less paper to shuffle around. Players can even pop onto official Dungeons & Dragons communities or check out the latest news from the wider world of Dungeons & Dragons. A trailer showcasing the company’s vision for the service was released alongside the announcement:

The information we have about D&D Beyond states that it will be set in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s also stated to support homebrew content; the robustness of this particular feature is likely to be of some importance to Dungeon Masters new and old alike, if only for the ability to create custom content for their campaign

The official website doesn’t detail the pricing model, but a comment on Reddit’s r/Games subreddit from Adam at Curse has laid out some of the details of the pricing and functionality. It’s going to be a web application, but it will nonetheless have offline support. The tool is being developed by Curse, but it won’t be tied into the Curse app which is currently undergoing a relaunch and rebrand as the Twitch Desktop App. A subscription fee will be necessary for managing “more than a handful of characters” and to enable features such as homebrew content integration.

Additionally, thanks to a comment from Adam over at ENWorld we know that this is not going to be a VTT (Virtual Table Top):

D&D Beyond is intended to enhance gameplay around a table (virtual or otherwise) – we intend this to be completely complementary and have no intention of creating a VTT.

The demo trailer certainly shows a clean experience, it’s the features and how well they work that is likely to determine how successful D&D Beyond will be. If you’re interested in checking out more and signing up for the beta you can head over to the official D&D Beyond website.


Quick Take

Having used Fantasy Grounds and Tabletop Simulator quite a bit, I think that D&D Beyond is going to be fighting an uphill battle. I have the feeling that they may be reluctant to support older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, and I personally know dozens of players of the classic tabletop RPG that have very few kind words to say about 4th or 5th edition. There’s also the issue of cost – we don’t yet know what this will cost exactly, but there are plenty of free tools that can do the job. It will need to compete against the stuff already out there that can be picked up for a one-time cost (if not entirely free) and it will have to provide a better level of functionality. In any case, hopefully Wizards can bring D&D 5th edition into the 21st century with this service.

What do you think of D&D Beyond? Do you think this is something that many Dungeons & Dragons players will be using? Let us know in the comments below!

Medieval Banquet To dine For!

Feed The Couple

 

What a great dining experience! As mentioned in the previous post (London Snippets) we will be writing to you about our experience dining at Medieval Banquet and Merriment, London. It is situated by St. Katherine Docks, just 5 mins walk away from the Tower Hill (District line) or Tower Gate (DLR) station. Medieval Banquet London sure does bring the excitement to anyone the moment you see the metal knight statue by its entrance. You have to book the ticket online as it is reservation only, and you are only permitted to enter when the doors open at 7.15pm from Wednesdays to Saturdays, meals, and entertainments will start from 7.45pm. Whilst on Sundays, the doors will open at 5.15pm, and the meals and entertainments will start from 5.45pm. We arrived at the venue rather early thus decided to have a cup of coffee each from Starbucks, but 10 mins later a long queue was already forming…

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Humble Book Bundle: Adventure Travel presented by Lonely Planet

Feed The Couple

Humble Book Bundle: Adventure Travel presented by Lonely PlanetDo you want adventure in the great wide somewhere? This Lonely Planet book bundle is your ticket outta here. Get Secret Marvels of the World, A Spotter’s Guide to Film (and TV) Locations,...

Do you want adventure in the great wide somewhere? This Lonely Planet book bundle is your ticket outta here.

Humble Book Bundle: Adventure Travel presented by Lonely Planet

Get Secret Marvels of the World, A Spotter’s Guide to Film (and TV) Locations, The World’s Best Spicy Foods, Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World, and more great titles from the celebrated travel publisher!

Humble Book Bundle: Adventure Travel presented by Lonely Planet

This will inspire readers of all ages to seize the moment, channel their inner hero, explore the world, create moments they will celebrate for years to come, and share their incredible stories. Providing suggestions for life’s essential experiences for every stage of life, this is a perfect eclectic gift of ebooks for a life well-lived. Combining stunning photography with illustrations and infographics, it will surprise and entertain with a quirky mix of experiences everyone should try at some point in their life.

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