The story behind the Belter language in The Expanse

This picture, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), shows a galaxy known as NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock). Its unusual shape is caused by its interactions with the smaller galaxy that can be seen just above NGC 6872, called IC 4970. They both lie roughly 300 million light-years away from Earth. From tip to tip, NGC 6872 measures over 500 000 light-years across, making it the second largest spiral galaxy discovered to date. In terms of size it is beaten only by NGC 262, a galaxy that measures a mind-boggling 1.3 million light-years in diameter! To put that into perspective, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, measures between 100 000 and 120 000 light-years across, making NGC 6872 about five times its size. The upper left spiral arm of NGC 6872 is visibly distorted and is populated by star-forming regions, which appear blue on this image. This may have been be caused by IC 4970 recently passing through this arm — although here, recent means 130 million years ago! Astronomers have noted that NGC 6872 seems to be relatively sparse in terms of free hydrogen, which is the basis material for new stars, meaning that if it weren’t for its interactions with IC 4970, NGC 6872 might not have been able to produce new bursts of star formation. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.

One of the features of The Expanse is the Belter language or dialect which adds a whole dimension to the story that would ordinarily be lacking without it. Ars Technica interviewed the linguist who helped create the dialect used in the TV show.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and I’m thinking about the laptop bag

Bursts of pink and red, dark lanes of mottled cosmic dust, and a bright scattering of stars — this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows part of a messy barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 428. It lies approximately 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). Although a spiral shape is still just about visible in this close-up shot, overall NGC 428’s spiral structure appears to be quite distorted and warped, thought to be a result of a collision between two galaxies. There also appears to be a substantial amount of star formation occurring within NGC 428 — another telltale sign of a merger. When galaxies collide their clouds of gas can merge, creating intense shocks and hot pockets of gas and often triggering new waves of star formation. NGC 428 was discovered by William Herschel in December 1786. More recently a type Ia supernova designated SN2013ct was discovered within the galaxy by Stuart Parker of the BOSS (Backyard Observatory Supernova Search) project in Australia and New Zealand, although it is unfortunately not visible in this image. This image was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Image Processing competition by contestants Nick Rose and the Flickr user penninecloud. Links: Nick Rose’s image on Flickr Penninecloud’s image on Flickr

I became a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan when I watched the series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” which I loved. deGrasse Tyson has a really interesting YouTube channel called “StarTalk Radio” which I just subscribed to and which you may also want to watch if you are into astrophysics.

Running past a speed trap #InaFlash

We just started watching “The Flash” and we’re enjoying it. This one trailer is great and there is a little Easter egg in the first few seconds … “Palmer Technologies”. Ray Palmer makes an appearance in Arrow season 3 too. Palmer’s alter ego is Atom so this should be an interesting tie between The Flash…… Continue reading Running past a speed trap #InaFlash