Movie: Dune, Part Two Trailer Available

Image (Credit): Preview image from Dune, Part Two. (Warner Bros.)

If you are a fan of Frank Herbert’s series Dune, as well as the 2021 film version of the first book directed by Denis Villeneuve, then you will be pleased to see the latest trailer for the second part of the film. It does not give too much away to those who do not already know the story, but it demonstrates that we can expect the same quality of film later this year.

It would be nice if the other books in the series get picked up by Warner Bros. in the way the Lord of the Rings led to increased interest in the tales as well as more movies. It is a tricky balance that can be abused, as we have seen with too many series, but carefully done it would be amazing to see.

You can read more about the upcoming film in a cover story by Vanity Fair. It also has plenty of photos from the new film (such as the one below).

Dune, Part Two should be in theaters by November of this year.

Image (Credit): Baron Harkonnen languishing in his restorative bath. (Vanity Fair/Niko Tavernise)

Happy Astronomy Day!

Image (Credit): Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. (Adler Planetarium)

Today is National Astronomy Day (also called International Astronomy Day). You still have time to look to the heavens if you have yet to do so.

The Farmer’s Almanac has this to say about the day:

This “holiday” was created in 1973 by California astronomer Doug Berger. During the first observance, Berger set up telescopes in busy urban locations, such as street corners, parks, and malls, as a way to bring astronomy “to the people.” Since then, the event has grown to international proportions, with amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories, and other science organizations throughout the world hosting special events twice each year in honor of Astronomy Day.

Yes, the day is almost over, but how about turning the weekend in to an astronomy weekend? Visit a local planetarium. a local telescope, or a space museum to celebrate. Or, even better, make astronomy a more frequent activity in your life by tapping into a local astronomy club or attending astronomy lectures.

Maybe you can even host your own event for the autumn Astronomy Day currently scheduled for September 23rd. That’s right, as noted above, there are two Astronomy Days per year. How many special days give you a second chance like this?

Second Pic of the Week: The UAE’s Amal Spacecraft Orbiting Mars

Image (Credit): Mars and its moon Deimos. (UAE Space Agency)

I should have used the image above as the Pic of the Week yesterday. The image was captured by the United Arab Emerates’ (UEA) Amal spacecraft orbiting Mars. It shows the Red Planet as well as one of its moons – Deimos. The spacecraft came as close as 62 miles from the moon.

In a European Geosciences Union press release, we read about another finding related to the UAE mission from Emirates Mars Mission Science Lead Hessa Al Matroushi:

We are unsure of the origins of both Phobos and Deimos…One long-standing theory is that they are captured asteroids, but there are unresolved questions about their composition. How exactly they came to be in their current orbits is also an active area of study, and so any new information we can gain on the two moons, especially the more rarely observed Deimos, has the potential to unlock new understanding of Mars’ satellites. Our close observations of Deimos so far point to a planetary origin rather than reflecting the composition of a type D asteroid as has been postulated.

Hence, we have a new discussion about the origin of the Martian moons that should keep scientists busy for some time.

Pic of the Week: The Jellyfish Galaxy

Image (Credit): The massive galaxy JO204. (NASA)

This week’s image is from the Hubble Space Telescope. You are looking at JO204, also called the “jellyfish galaxy” because of its tendrils. It is about 600 million light-years away. It is an impressive sight.

Here is a little more on the galaxy from NASA:

While the delicate ribbons of gas beneath JO204 may look like floating jellyfish tentacles, they are in fact the outcome of an intense astronomical process known as ram pressure stripping. Ram pressure is a particular type of pressure exerted on a body when it moves relative to a fluid. An intuitive example is the sensation of pressure you experience when you are standing in an intense gust of wind – the wind is a moving fluid, and your body feels pressure from it. An extension of this analogy is that your body will remain whole and coherent, but the more loosely bound things – like your hair and your clothes – will flap in the wind. The same is true for jellyfish galaxies. They experience ram pressure because of their movement against the intergalactic medium that fills the spaces between galaxies in a galaxy cluster. The galaxies experience intense pressure from that movement, and as a result their more loosely bound gas is stripped away. This gas is mostly the colder and denser gas in the galaxy – gas which, when stirred and compressed by the ram pressure, collapses and forms new stars in the jellyfish’s beautiful tendrils.

Space Stories: Lost Lunar Lander, Exoplanet Elements, and the Molten Middle of Mars

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander orbiting the Moon. (ispace)

Here are some recent stories of interest. Lunar Lander Loses Contact Moments Before Touchdown

The Japanese start-up ispace attempted to become the first private company to successfully soft-land a commercial spacecraft on the Moon today (Tuesday, April 25). However, it now appears that the landing attempt — like several other such attempts in recent years — has failed…Ispace currently plans to attempt at least two more lunar landings over the next few years, applying lessons learned during today’s landing attempt to increase their odds of success. Discover Rare Element in Exoplanet’s Atmosphere

The rare metal terbium has been found in an exoplanet’s atmosphere for the first time. The researchers at Lund University in Sweden have also developed a new method for analyzing exoplanets, making it possible to study them in more detail…”Detecting heavy elements in the atmospheres of ultra-hot exoplanets is another step towards learning how the atmospheres of planets work. The better we get to know these planets, the greater chance we have of finding Earth 2.0 in the future,” concludes Nicholas Borsato.

NASA:NASA InSight Study Provides Clearest Look Ever at Martian Core

While NASA retired its InSight Mars lander in December, the trove of data from its seismometer will be pored over for decades to come. By looking at seismic waves the instrument detected from a pair of temblors in 2021, scientists have been able to deduce that Mars’ liquid iron core is smaller and denser than previously thought.