orphan-planet

brown dwarf detected close to solar system

Brown dwarf-hunting astronomers have reported the discovery of a “failed star” located within 10 light-years from Earth. This makes it the nearest brown dwarf and one of ten nearest stellar objects to our solar system. Although its location isn’t entirely unexpected (it is thought that the galaxy is stuffed full of these objects), the chemical composition of its atmosphere is a bit of a conundrum.

UGPSJ0722-05 is all by itself, floating through interstellar space, possibly having formed there on its lonesome, or kicked out of its host star system by an ancient gravitational game of stellar pinball. How it got there may not ever be known, but its close proximity allows astronomers to carry out detailed analysis of the object.

And what they found was a surprise.

Philip Lucas at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and his international team are part of the UKIDSS Galactic Plane Survey, a program that uses the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii to hunt for objects that glow in infrared.

Brown dwarfs are too small to initiate nuclear fusion in their cores for long periods (so they’re not stars), but they are distinct from planets too. Their interior has a convective motion of material, ensuring it is constantly being mixed up, preventing chemicals from settling – chemical differentiation is a planetary trait. Therefore, brown dwarfs are often considered to be the “bridge” between the most massive planets (Jupiter-like gas giants) and the smallest stars.

As brown dwarfs are technically “failed stars,” they are naturally very dim in visible wavelengths, but they do emit in infrared, radiation the UKIDSS survey is sensitive to.

The UKIRT has already detected many cool brown dwarfs, but UGPSJ0722-05 appears to be the coolest ever discovered. It could have a surface temperature as low as 400 Kelvin, even cooler than the team’s previous record of slightly below 500 K (see “Brown Dwarf Hunt Hits Record Low”).

Using the Gemini Observatory, follow-up spectroscopic analysis has detected methane and water vapor in its atmosphere. As pointed out by the arXiv blog, the presence of organic compounds will surely get astrobiologists talking.

Oddly, when looking at the spectrum from UGPSJ0722-05, there is an anomalous absorption line (i.e. a particular wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum that is missing) that cannot be explained by our current understanding of brown dwarfs. Perhaps the UKIRT has discovered a new breed of brown dwarf; a very cool object with some chemical in its atmosphere that absorbs infrared radiation at a wavelength of 1.25 micrometers.

This is definitely one brown dwarf to keep a close eye on.

Pop Culture Builds: Han Solo

So here we are, at the end of the special, and what better way to end it than to cover a major character most everyone remembers from their childhood, and one that got to return again recently in the new Star Wars 7. Everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf-herder smuggler-turned-hero, Han Solo!
The history of Han Solo is pretty convoluted when one attempts to take into account the entire, now defunct, expanded universe, so for this entry, we’ll be sticking to what we know from the current canon.
An orphan from the planet Corellia, Han turned to petty thievery early in life as a way to get by. At some point, Han became an exceptional pilot and acquired the ship that would become the Millennium Falcon. Together with his best friend, Chewbacca, they set themselves up as smugglers, running goods of questionable legality throughout the galaxy, particularly to a Hutt gangster on Tatooine named Jabba.
Fate had different plans for Han though, embarking on an epic adventure to defeat the Galactic Empire. Of course, almost everyone knows the story of Star Wars at this point, its part of our culture at this point, so I won’t bother retelling it here.

To build an homage to Han Solo… Heh, what roguish character that was created after Star Wars HASN’T been an homage to him in some way? Han is meant to be a dashing rogue sort of character, but in truth he’s kinda a giant dork who’s really playing it by ear his entire time, improvising, stumbling over social interaction with friends and allies, and so on. He’s his own worst foil, but he always comes through, even if only because his friends chip in help him out.
Race isn’t any object here, play whichever you like. As for class, I recommend the smuggler archetype for the rogue class. It is just a natural fit for him. For your rogue talents, I recommend grit if the setting doesn’t already let you take firearms as martial weapons (assuming the GM is allowing firearms), black market connections, another day, and whatever else you think fits for this build, particularly those that are luck and guile themed.
Your feats for this build should follow a similar theme, as well as those that improve their skill at piloting their vehicle of choice.
You can try this build with the driver archetype (for piloting skill), or even swashbuckler for a bit more of the bravado with the same general lack of good sense, and so on.

We’ve seen it a million times, but it’s still a classic, the roguish hero making their way in a world that was not made with them in mind. They may be rough around the edges, but most of them are good people underneath it all. (Not to be confused with people that are assholes, but insist they have a heart of gold). Feel free to use this build for any of them.
Skilled and cunning, all while flip-flopping between self-preservation and selfless daring are the hallmarks of this build and any good-aligned rogue. Han has been influenced by the best, and went on to influence even more, a true icon of pop culture and heroics.


Thanks to everyone who voted! If you didn’t see your character picked this time, don’t despair, we may very well do this again someday!

Hacheeachkee by MylCreates
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A Machucan named Introproretro Triocto Sketaldaz has lived his life as a slave up until his master unleashes an apocalyptic weapon wiping out the entire planet. Seconds before his race goes extinct, Sketaldaz runs into a mythical chronicler who calls herself Kadi, who manages to rescue Sketaldaz just as his planet is destroyed. Now a planet-less orphan, Sketaldaz takes on his new life as a…

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So….

Rey=Luke

Orphans, raised on desert planets until they encounter cute little rebellion droids. They are both powerful with the force, seemingly destined to be Jedi and have strong idealistic streaks. Both watch their father figure killed by a man in black with a lightsaber. Despite barely knowing said father figure they are deeply hit by this. Effectively the main hero of their stories.

Finn=Han

Both get involved for purely self serving reasons. For the sake of their own survival they intend to leave, but they instead end up chosing to return. They do this to help save the hero they have befriended. They are the accidental, almost reluctant  hero. And hey, back in the old days (I dunno if they have changed it) Han had a back story where he was in the Imperial military and left over an incident involving saving Chewie and/or his people. That is a bit like Finn being a stormtrooper until horrified by the village massacre.  

Poe=Leia

Both are established members of the rebellion that, before getting captured, stash secret information in a cute droid. Prisoner of the baddies, they are tortured by the man in the black mask. They then get rescued thanks to someone in a stormtrooper uniform. Both are quite emotionally close to the accidentally reluctant hero.

BB-8=R2D2

Cute and spunky little droids carrying secret information.

Han=ObiWan

See above for the father figure bit, including tragic end. Also, he is the first one to tell the new gang that the force is real.

Luke=Yoda

A reclusive source of Jedi knowledge living seemingly in self imposed exile. The young force adept journey’s to him for training.

Kylo Ren=Darth Vader

Well, Jr does want to be like his grandpa. He has the black armor and mask, can use the force, and is danger to his own side  when he looses his temper. They both had homicidal anger management issues and very poor judgement in friends. And end up killing a person that loved them as a child. Ungrateful sods!

General Hux=Grand Moff Tarkin

Both are officers able to pull rank on the temperamental force using prima donna’s.

Snoke=the Emperor

Homicidal forces of pure evil with idiot black clad force users and a bunch of storm troopers at their command.


Now two questions: 

What old character roles are Leia, Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 playing now? And the silver armored Stormtrooper officer (forgot her name) and the person running the cantenna knock off (Forgot her name too)?

What new characters are/will be introduced as the new Chewie, R2, Threepio,  Lando (not gonna forget Lando), Boba Fett and Wedge?

I’m sure lots of people have done this, but I hadn’t really thought about the movie since I saw it last month.