university of leiden

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Blue dot

You have to be really careful as a medieval decorator. In the Middle Ages the sequence of making a book was as follows: first the scribe copied the text, painstakingly, sweating over a single parchment page for up to half a day; and then the decorator would add color. This meant, of course, that the brush of the latter artist was hovering over a completed page. These images show what could go wrong if gravity got the upper hand in this balancing act: a drop of blue paint fell from the brush onto the parchment page. The decorator must not have seen it, because the thick drop was allowed to dry and travel through time: the 700-years-old human error is now a pretty sight. 

Pics (my own): Leiden, University Library, BPL 64 (13th century).

GIANT RINGED PLANET LIKELY CAUSE OF MYSTERIOUS ECLIPSES

** Synopsis: A giant gas planet [or brown dwarf] – up to 50x the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust – is likely hurtling around a star over 1,000 light-years away from Earth, according to international team of astronomers, led by University of Warwick; Light from young star – PDS 110 in the Orion constellation – is regularly blocked by large object, thought to be an orbiting planet; Next eclipse predicted to take place in September this year, and amateur astronomers across the world will be able to witness it; Moons may be forming in the habitable zone around the star – leading to possibility that life could thrive within system. **

A giant gas planet [or brown dwarf] – up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust – is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light-years away from Earth, according to new research by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick.

Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick’s Astrophysics Group, has identified that the light from this rare young star is regularly blocked by a large object – and predicts that these eclipses are caused by the orbit of this as-yet undiscovered [substellar body].

Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), Osborn and fellow researchers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory analysed fifteen years of the star’s activity.

“We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey,” said Hugh Osborn, lead author, who discovered the unusual light curve, “but it wasn’t until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special.”

They discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star – PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our Sun – is reduced to thirty percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses observed were in November 2008 and January 2011.

“What’s exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn,” says Leiden astronomer Matthew Kenworthy.

Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet [or brown dwarf], the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year – and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses.

If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period.

“September’s eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation,” comments Hugh Osborn.

The researchers suggest that there are moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110 – pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system.

The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system.

Minerva (2011). Erwin Olaf (Dutch, b.1959). Chromogenic print, from the series: The Siege and Relief of Leiden (2011), commissioned by Museum De Lakenhal and Leiden University. 

For this image, Olaf took the seal and logo of Leiden University as a starting point. However, he made the goddess more lively, by having the young model challenging viewers by looking straight in their eyes.

Portraits of the Universe

As an astronomy student, I see plenty of images from space. It’s an odd thing when you think about it. Most of the things that exist are out there, in space and yet only a select few humans are privileged enough to see them in their full beautiful context.

Here I’ll show you some of my favorite images from space and I’ll try to explain what makes them uniquely wonderful. I hope you enjoy!


Home

This satellite photograph of crops in Kansas exemplifies to me the symbiotic relationship we need with our mother planet. Earth is home to us and right now we couldn’t look anywhere else in the universe and find a place like this, where food springs forth from the ground.

It’s humbling and beautiful.

(Image credit: NASA)

Into the Great Beyond

This image of a NASA space shuttle transiting across the face of the Sun is cold-hard proof that not only are we insignificantly small in the face of the vastness of space, but that not even that can stop us.

We’re explorers. We’re brave. We’re capable. We rose phoenix-like from the ashes of stars and we won’t tremble at the yawning dark.

(Image credit: NASA)

The South Pole of Mars

The south pole of Mars, also known as Planum Australe, is a giant, frozen, carbon dioxide and water ice-cap. It looks somewhat like stretch marks, somewhat like a bath bomb and somewhat like a giant bunny rabbit. It is gorgeous though, no matter which way you look at it.

Because of the greenhouse gas nature of methane, some think there’s a potential in the ice caps to recreate the Martian atmosphere. Though this idea can be controversial, it’s the possibility of what could be that quickens my heart.

(Image credit: ESA)

A Fresh Martian Crater

Typically craters are used to denote age. Bodies in space collect them over time like an ever increasing number of scars. Seeing a fresh one though is a uniquely personal experience. It reveals a lot about both the impactor and the body it struck. This image is gorgeous with the ejecta spread out like some sort of postmodern art piece.

(Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

Sunset from Afar

Seen by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this Martian sunset is a stark reminder that the things we find beautiful about Earth, can sometimes be found abroad, injecting our ideas of beauty with new and enlightening perspectives.

On Earth short wavelength light is scattered out the more atmosphere light travels through. This is why as the sun gets lower, it becomes more red. On Earth, our blue skies become a romantic shade of crimson at sunset.

On Mars, the skies, red from dust, become blue at sunset. This is because the atmosphere doesn’t effectively scatter lightwaves until it’s filtered through enough atmosphere (which happens when the sun’s at the horizon). 

(Image credit: NASA, JPL/Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M Univ)

Forged in Fire

In this picture from the ALMA telescope array, we can see an entire solar system being born. When a nebula collapses into a protoplanetary disk and a star is born in the center, heat and light emerge forth, a primordial solar system.

Gradually, pieces of the disk orbiting around the baby star clump together and, like a snowball rolling down hill, gather more and more material in their orbit.

Paths around the star get cleared as the baby planets grow larger and larger. The black paths you see above are places where planets are being born. An entire solar system is emerging out of the molten storm you see above.

(Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

The Jewel of the Solar System

There are worlds unlike anything we could have ever imagined out there. There are beautiful giants totally unlike our home and yet they orbit close enough that we can go there and explore it and its moons, orbiting around it like a solar system within the solar system.

(Image credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute)

A Water World

Around Saturn orbits a small moon named Enceladus. It’s currently shooting geysers of liquid water into space. This mysterious world is one of numerous places suspected to be hospitable for life.

It’s easy to forget that Earth may not be the only place where life could form. Enceladus is only the first step towards breaking ourselves from thinking of the search for alien life as being a terra-centric one.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

Cosmic Jellyfish

This image of Comet Holmes, with its tails extended out and atmosphere on full display, show exactly how alive the universe really is without us.

As comets near stars, they heat up and two tails form behind them. In their cosmic dance around the stars, they interact in quite lively ways that proove the universe is far from being a still, empty void.

(Image credit: Ivan Eder)

Stardust & Mysteries

This image, collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, collects all manner of light and depth visible to one with a mind for exploration.

Who knows what mysterious places could be hiding behind that nebula? As Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team)

The Cosmos

No image better represents the grandeur, age and vastness of the universe than the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image.

Astronomers, curious as to how large the universe really was, pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at a patch of darkness between the stars. They left the telescope to stare into the pitch blackness for 23 days collecting what pitiful amount of light there might be out there.

What they got back was a field littered with character, color and life.

This picture shows the universe (literally) at 3.5% of its current age. This is what it looked like 13.2 billion years ago.

(Image credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team)

anonymous asked:

Is the FF7 remake now making the Compilation non-canon?? My friend gave me these news and I don't know if it's genuine information.

(continues:) My friend hates this possibility. She loves Crisis Core, and having that become non-canon brings several concerns.

Thank you for your question! 

A quick google search earned me no confirmation of this statement. But as a writer of FF7 fanfic writer/Sephiroth-roleplayer/Leiden university student of literature, I shall do my best to give you and educated and conclusive answer instead.

TL;DR: It’s unavoidable, and will have far-reaching implications for fandom community, but it will be OK and below’s why.

What is canon?
This definition of canon from here is what I will be using in this post: 

Canon - a term borrowed from the Catholic Church, meaning ‘established truth’.  The definition of ‘canon’ is a bit vague, but is usually understood to mean the body of works upon which a fandom is based, and any information contained therein.  This is sometimes extended to include information in guidebooks, interviews, and other such sources.  Also used to refer to information from different versions of a story: for example, the school uniforms in Harry Potter ‘book-canon’ are different from those in ‘movie-canon’. 

It is a way for the creators to indicate “this is the set of in-game truths and rules we are working with.” It’s a way to keep the rules that govern the world consistent. In Final Fantasy VII, one can either regard just the OG (original game) as canon, or the entire compilation as canon.

What happens if canon is made invalid?
   This happened to the StarWars fandom. Around the first 6 films were novels, lego, books, fanarts, and fanfictions. This franchise is incredibly interesting because it does not make canon top-down (from the creators to the plebs), but also accepts work from fans (bottom-up). 

An example: anyone could write a StarWars book, as long as they stuck so guidelines set by the official creators and had it checked for approval.
Anyone could be a stormtrooper, as long as you used the exact right plastic moulds and sent pictures of the finished product to the official people who approved it. (My first boyfriend did this for his cosplay.)

Anyway, the novels continued the storyline after film six (I believe all the main characters had children). But when LucasFilms and Disney embarked on making the 7th film, they decided to throw all that worldbuilding (universe-building) away. Why did they throw it away? Because for legal reasons authors cannot read fan-fictions and this post explains why (link)
    In short: if the script writers of film 7 were to base film 7 on an any canon work, a fan could claim “I wrote a fanfic about exactly this” and face huge legal charges. Even/Especially a franchise that has a very agreeable bottom-up treatment of canon and fandom culture, has to watch out. Rey from film 7 is a completely new character, with her own timeline.

THUS THERE IS A BIG CHANCE THE CANON OF THE COMPILATION OF FINAL FANTASY 7 WILL BE DECLARED INVALID.

In the past, how has FF7 fandom dealt with canon vs new canon?
A long time ago, the Original Game (OG) was the ‘mothership’. Sephiroth was portrayed as evil. To give him any sign of niceness in fanfiction was considered out-of-character and greatly discouraged.
Then FFVII Cisis Core came out, and certain fans rioted against the game’s portrayal of a kind, awkward Sephiroth.

For the Final Fantasy VII Remake to be identical to the Original Game with updated graphics would be impossible. Such a game would not sell. There will be changes in the game mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics, and narrative to make the game contemporary. I feel two ways about those changes: frightened and joyous.

How does it relate to online FF7 fandom communities?
Now our 'canon’ 'mothership’ is the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Our current fandom community is built around what we have learnt of the compilation. Because FF7 is so big, it’s impossible to know everything about the story and characters and mechanics. People specialise, and draw on each other’s experience. 

My area of specialisation is Sephiroth, with in-depth knowledge of his scenes in Advent Children Complete, Crisis Core, Before Crisis, Kingdom Hearts, and Original Game. I’m still learning about his Dissidia, Ehrgeitz, and other versions. This knowledge of this character and interpretation of this character gives me social merit in roleplay communities. It’s said if you put 1000 hours of work into learning something, you are an expert. I’ve been writing Sephiroth on and off since I was 14. I’m 26 now. In my niche, I am an expert. Fans ask me questions about Sephiroth because they trust me to provide a plausible answer that conflicts least with canon.

But if/when the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII will be declared invalid, social status based on the no-longer-canon Compilation will be rendered useless. This means that when I make a statement on Remake-Sephiroth, all my arguments based on experience of (years!) of development of my Sephiroth will be useless. Scary.

This will upset the social structures of the communities. Experts are no longer expert. With the release of the first episode/chapter of the Remake, new fans and old fans start learning at the same time about the 'new’ canon. They will have the same chance to become expert. The one fan who will put in enough hours, will get most social status, will be crowned expert. 

Old groups of friends may stick together. New groups will form. New sub-communities rise. Some fans will riot against new information, as they did insisting that Crisis Core Sephiroth couldn’t be kind/awkward/friendly. More about attitudes and a ‘desired attitude’ later.

How can FF7 fans and roleplayers negotiate with old canon and new canon to find a position which they are comfortable with?
The use of the word headcanon will go through a shift. 'Headcanon’ will no longer be a combination of traits/habits one puts on the character like a sticker (my trademark headcanon is that my Sephiroth puts his hair in a braid/my belief that Sephiroth follows the Jenova Omega Theory). Instead, the word 'headcanon’ will return to its old meaning: “In my head, this set of rules is canon.” The word 'headcanon’ will then refer to a set of metaphysical choices on how the FF7 world and characters function as a framework.

My friend @askcrv2 solved this question ingeniously. I’m taking a detour into the Vocaloid fandom: she writes a singing android robot. With robots, there are new versions every few years. The voice bank is updated. New songs. New merchandise… - and thus new canons. Nowadays version 4 is common. She writes version 2. She had her robot hide in a warehouse to avoid the garbage pile. This way, she can both stick to her old canons, but also in the new versions, her old version is still valid. Her robot complements new canon. Compliments to the writer!

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII is fun, and I love it.It is not perfect. There are glaring inconsistencies. These plot holes could be changed in the Remake. But it’s not wrong to love the Final Fantasy VII from 1997 and style your preferences to that version.

IF/WHEN it’s made invalid… How do we as fans continue?
When the Original Game and/or the Compilation as a whole be declared invalid, it will hurt. I will have to renegotiate my attitude towards Sephiroth as a character, and to the story as a whole, and find back my position in a new community. 

This game has kept me captivated for many years, so I have high hopes for the future product. I expect that the managers/teams/designers of the company have improved with 20 years more of experience. The Remake is being re-made from scratch. I have respect for the game team’s hard work and sacrifices. I imagine that every change in the  ’new canon’ will be a thoroughly-debated decision. The promotional video (link) of the Remake reveals the attitude the game-makers would like to see in the fans:

The reunion at hand may bring joy, it may bring fear, but let us embrace whatever it brings. For they are coming back. 

And that’s best of all. After 20 years, FF7 will be coming back. It’s not the fandom’s job anymore to re-create the world. The original creators will tell our favourite story back to us, and we can sit back… until we start making new fanworks!

Let’s embrace whatever it brings. 

Let’s make fantastic fanworks, and build warm communities.

The canon of the Compilation of Final Fantasy 7 will never be a forgotten memory. The Compilation will live on, inside us. I hope this post sufficiently answers your question. Tell your friend not to worry. <3

– rp-Sephiroth.

Petyr Van Abel - Thomas de Keyser, Amsterdam 1683

Son of the famous surgeon Jan Van Abel from the Leiden University on Amsterdam, Petyr was one of the most valuables investigators that Talamasca had on the XVII Century, His studies on the field of Witchcraft and Telepathy were ahead of his time; However his most important work was the information collected from his experiences with Deborah Mayfair and Charlotte Fontaney. According his letters he Met Deborah in 1664 on Scotland and Charlotte in 1690 on Port-Au-Prince, Saint Domingue. Petyr Died under stranger cyrcumstances after he pay his visit to Charlotte Fontaney. 

Honey, we need to discuss infinity

Oh hello! What a fantastic brain you’ve got (all the better for abstractions my dear) mind if I put something in it? It’s rather large and I’ve been putting it in my head for ages and I’m running out of room!

Now, how do I start a post about everything?

With a coin flip:

Tails

Flip it again

Tails

Flip it again

DAMN IT tails

If you flipped it a hundred more times, do you think you’d eventually get a heads?

What if you flipped it until you got heads? Would you be flipping it forever or would you be some bizarre modern Sisyphus, waiting for the heads that never come?

(If only Sisyphus has the power of infinity [Image credit: Curtis Lindsay])

It seems pretty sensible to think that you can simply say “I’ll flip this coin until I get heads” and eventually you will get heads. Go ahead and try it.

Tails? Keep flipping.

Good, now that we’ve got our heads, let’s collectively melt them.

I want to talk about something called the “multiverse”.

Before I start though, I want you to ignore everything you’ve ever heard about “Multiverses” before. This is an intro. I want to show you a string of logic that takes you into eternity, but it’s not meaningful to simply plop yourself into the middle of everything, lost and disoriented:

I want to show you the door, set your feet on the path and let you inevitably come to your own conclusion.

Our journey starts at a rather unscientific point: a wild assumption.

I’m going to come right out and say it: If the universe is “finite”, everything I’m about to say is almost certainly wrong.

If, however, it’s infinite

Ay, there’s the rub.

Due to spectroscopic data from faraway stars (a way of breaking starlight into its quantum signatures i.e. it tells you what elements are inside the stars [gold, zing, iron etc.]) we know that the universe is made of the same “stuffs” far away as it is right here in the solar system.

Where does that get us? And what the heck does it have to do with flipping coins?

Well as it happens, the combination of the periodic table and infinite space get you to some sort of mindfucky places.

All you need to do is understand a single principle: if you have a finite number of possibilities, and infinite number of tries, all possibilities will occur at some point.

We see this in the coin flips.

Say you dear reader, are made of a finite number of particles - which you are. Just as we can be sure that an infinite amount of tries will give us heads on a coin flip eventually, the universe, using the periodic table of elements as we have here and infinite space, can again arrange in such a way to reproduce the exact combination of atoms that our solar system is made of.

Yes, that’s exactly right: if the universe is infinite in space, statistically there’s an overwhelming likelihood that there is another copy of our solar system out there. Another you, another me, everything.

All we need is that one key ingredient: infinity.

Oh if only it stopped there.

Please, sit down.

It turns out that, if our universe is infinite in space, it probably doesn’t actually exist.

This is a consequence of a revelation not entirely obvious, but is the result of an introduction of a third ingredient into the equation: an anthropological ingredient.

With the periodic table of elements, infinite space and an insight from humanity, we can conclude that statistically, the universe almost certainly doesn’t exist as a natural occurrence, but more likely as a sort of Matrix-like simulated reality.

What I mean by “anthropological ingredient” is this: look at how many “simulated universes we’ve created. Skyrim, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Civ V etc. the list just goes on.

As artificial intelligence gets better and our ability to create more sophisticated “artificial universes” increases, it seems likely that the A.I.’s will begin to approach the human brain in sophistication and even emotion, in a world that approaches ours in sophistication.

The important thing to take away from this idea is that as humans, we’ve created many of such artificial worlds.

Consider this now as you stare up at the stars:

All those stars are a part of very complicated world. It takes quite a bit of incredible unlikelihoods to create our entire universe,exactly all over again.

The natural conclusion is that in the grand scheme of the universe, a place like the solar system in which we live is a pretty rare place, down to the atom. In a place however, that is like our solar system, we can be sure it houses hundreds of millions of “artificial universes”.

What I’m getting at, in the most long-winded way possible, is that for every “real” universe there are far more artificial ones.

As you can see, infinity and the “multiverse conversation” take you far, and take you nowhere. It can both change everything and absolutely nothing, for we ultimately don’t know whether or not we’re in a simulated universe and no matter which side of the fence you fall on, it won’t change the way your life goes… for now.

It’s perhaps interesting to ponder the day Mario figures out he’s being played and starts reverse-engineering Yoshi’s Island all the way back to the code used to create it.

Now with that said… it’s possible that somewhere out there - if you travel far enough, there’s a version of this post that has over 10,000 likes/reblogs…

(Image credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team)