Thursday, August 11, 2011


Image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Looky what Hubble found:
A giant cosmic necklace glows brightly in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image.

The object, aptly named the Necklace Nebula, is a recently discovered planetary nebula, the glowing remains of an ordinary, Sun-like star. The nebula consists of a bright ring, measuring 12 trillion miles wide, dotted with dense, bright knots of gas that resemble diamonds in a necklace.

A pair of stars orbiting close together produced the nebula, also called PN G054.2-03.4. About 10,000 years ago one of the aging stars ballooned to the point where it engulfed its companion star. The smaller star continued orbiting inside its larger companion, increasing the giant’s rotation rate.

The bloated companion star spun so fast that a large part of its gaseous envelope expanded into space. Due to centrifugal force, most of the gas escaped along the star’s equator, producing a ring. The embedded bright knots are dense gas clumps in the ring.

The pair is so close, only a few million miles apart, they appear as one bright dot in the center. The stars are furiously whirling around each other, completing an orbit in a little more than a day.

The Necklace Nebula is located 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta. In this composite image, taken on July 2, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured the glow of hydrogen (blue), oxygen (green), and nitrogen (red).
Wonder where the other end is.  ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Custom Star Wars Figures: 1950s Space Opera Style!

Saw these amazing re-imagined character figures over at Sillof's Workshop. You've likely seen some of his other themed, custom Star Wars figures around the net, including the Samurai, Western, and WWII versions. This latest one is called Serial Wars and harkens back to the pulp sci-fi cinema of the Golden Age!

The gang's all here in top form and man are they inspiring. My favorite has to be the psion star warrior fashioned after Ben Kenobi....

You recognize that smirk of course...

This guys are great, but you really need to see the finned Fett helmet at Sillof's website...

A lovely space heroine....

And of course Luke is a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers homage. I like how the lightsaber handle turned out...

If only I could get some 1:72 miniatures like these! Maybe Sillof will branch out into minis!

Props to Space 1970 for posting these on Facebook. I haven't seen them up on the blog yet, but I'll link to his Star Wars posts just in case.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Actual Science Fiction in Two New Movies? That's crazy!

This first one features a new take on aliens (at least for movies) as electrostatic entities bent on sucking the planet dry of energy and vaporizing us along the way. It's nice to something actually a little different making it's way to the silver screen. Somebody needs to stat those things up!

This next one is directed by Andrew Niccol, who directed one of my favorite films, Gattaca. This has a similar "marginalized lower class breaks into the uppper class" theme but what's really fascinating is how time is used. It's a sci-fi movie about time--but not about time travel!

I'm always going to love big space operas like Star Wars, alien smashfests like Cowboys vs. Aliens, or dystopian parables like Rise of the Planet of the Apes--but the films featured in these two clips really have my interest piqued.

Hollywood: This is a good start--now make MORE like these!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Star Trek Theme Park coming to Jordan

Gratuitous under-saucer shot!
Jordan is so lucky. Check this out:
Set phasers for fun! That’s because Star Trek’s getting the theme park treatment in Aqaba, Jordan. Set to begin construction in March 2012, the Red Sea Astrarium, a $1.5 billion development comprised of four hotels and 17 amusement-park-style attractions, will feature a Star Trek-themed entertainment center, including a “space-flight adventure” simulator ride (a la Disney’s Star Tours) based on the 45-year-old franchise.
His Highness as he appeared in a mid-90s episode of Voyager
Turns out Jordan's own King Abdullah II is a huge trekkie/trekker. So he gets his own country AND a Trek theme park. I bet he could probably build his own Enterprise if he wanted to. And it'd be better than that Star Trek Experience they shuttered in Vegas a few years back.

The full story at Entertainment Weekly, which also has their suggested rides.

What kind of rides, characters, slurpees, etc. would you want to enjoy at a Star Trek theme park?