You are reading the article Once Upon A Light Review: Save The Light Of Your Life updated in December 2023 on the website Moimoishop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Once Upon A Light Review: Save The Light Of Your LifeI’ve tested dozens of physics-based casual games. Some of them are so hard I don’t like to play them. Others are so simple I get bored. Finding a middle ground isn’t as easy as it sounds. I guess I’m the baby bear of the app testing world.
I’ve tested dozens of physics-based casual games. Some of them are so hard I don’t like to play them. Others are so simple I get bored. Finding a middle ground isn’t as easy as it sounds. I guess I’m the baby bear of the app testing world.
Once Upon a Light is a pleasantly surprising casual game that requires you to think ahead to your next move, but doesn’t require precise aim or timing skills so you can enjoy a challenge without ripping your hair out from frustration…Design
The game’s theme is a bit of Steam Punk and a bit of cartoon animation. The beginning cinematic shows a mustached cowboy who is trying to save his ladylove from being carted off to another electronic environment. Once separated, the brightly lit “Eddie” is determined to plug into the right outlet to save his beloved. It is your job to help him reach her.
Each level features one entrance portal, a handful of light sockets, some metal and glass walls, three energy coins, and the exit portal. Players fling Eddie from one socket to the next, bouncing off of walls and collecting energy along the way.
Each socket can only be activated a specific number of times. That is, Eddie can only plug in to the same socket so many times. When a socket is all used up, the light bulbs attached to it will go dark.
The game has seven worlds that are represented by seven sections of a balloon-powered airship. The different worlds have different backgrounds and increasingly challenging puzzles.GamePlay
The goal of this game is to get from the starting portal to the ending portal on each level. Collecting energy along the way will help you earn extra points. The game isn’t timed, so you can take as long as you want to figure out the best plan of attack.
Players start at the first portal and must get to a nearby socket. To launch Eddie, touch the screen where he is and drag your finger behind him. This will create a target line in front of Eddie, which will help you aim for the next socket. When you let go of the screen, he will fling to the target. Sometimes, there are obstacles in the way, like walls, which keep you from getting directly to the next socket. Sometimes, you will need to aim your shot so that Eddie bounces off of different walls and lands in a socket. Other times, you will need to break through glass walls and re-send Eddie to his next landing spot.
There are also various switches and knobs that you must turn on or off by flinging Eddie past or into them. For example, there is an electric springboard that automatically flings Eddie across the room at a certain angle. To rotate the spring so that it faces a different direction, fling Eddie across its corresponding switch and it will rotate to the new position.
Along the way, players should try to collect energy coins. There are three on each level. When you collect them all, you will receive the maximum points. Oftentimes, the path to all three energy coins is significantly more difficult than the path directly to the exit. But don’t take the easy route. The fun is in the challenge.The Good
Casual physics-based puzzle games tend to either be way too hard, or so repetitive that it gets boring fairly fast. This game has just enough challenge to keep you interested, without being so hard you give up.The Bad
The game’s tutorial or how-to is very vague. There are no words, so you have to rely on an animated pointing finger to understand new game mechanics. While it wasn’t difficult to figure out what the finger was pointing at, I’d like a bit more clarity on the rules and mechanics.Value
Once Upon a Light costs $0.99. That is the perfect price for a game of this caliber. There are almost 50 levels across seven different worlds and no in-app purchases to make you spend more money.Conclusion
Fans of physics-based games will feel right at home with this title. It is not going to win any awards for innovation, but it is a fun and entertaining game that will keep you occupied for at least a few hours. Not bad for only a buck. This app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.Related Apps
Freeze! is a unique looking physics-based game. Aerox is a physics-based game that is a rollercoaster of action.
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Not only do you want a webcam that helps you connect with others remotely, but you also want one that helps you look your best. The eMeet Nova Webcam promises to help you look more professional through autofocus and auto low light correction. I recently had the opportunity to try this webcam out for myself.Overview of Features
The eMeet Nova Webcam is small and portable, making it a great addition to add to your laptop bag for meetings anywhere. It connects easily to your computer via a USB cable, making it widely compatible. It also works with most meeting software, so you can connect with clients and co-workers where they want to meet.
The plug-and-play installation makes it ideal for all types of users. With no drivers or software, you’re able to start using the webcam immediately on Windows and Mac devices.
Some of the most impressive features that’ll make your next meeting look and sound even better include:
2 MP camera featuring 1920 x 1080p resolution
96-degree wide angle autofocus lens
4-layer lens for sharper video
2 omnidirectional noise canceling mics
Auto low-light correction to correct lighting and white balance
180-degree flexible clip to fit most any laptop or monitor
Support for tripodGetting Started
Right out of the box, the eMeet Nova Webcam is simple to set up. Just unfold the clip and attach it to the top of your monitor or laptop screen. Then, plug in the USB cable and wait for your system to install it automatically.
If your system doesn’t set your microphone and camera defaults to eMeet, the instruction booklet takes you step by step through how to change this on both Mac and Windows. I was pleasantly surprised to see such detailed instructions, as many webcams skip over this part and just say “change your settings.”
If your laptop already has a built-in webcam, you may have to manually select the eMeet webcam in your chosen video-calling app.The eMeet Nova Webcam in Action
The first thing I always do when trying out a webcam is do a quick comparison with my built-in laptop webcam. That gives me a good idea of the overall video quality before I even start a meeting.
The following image is my built-in laptop webcam:
While it’s not terrible, the image is rather grainy. Plus, it’d be difficult for more than one person to be in the shot at a time without feeling crowded.
The next image is the eMeet Nova webcam:
As you can tell, the image is much sharper, though it did seem almost blurry at times during my testing. However, the video does look better than my built-in webcam. Plus, when placed at the right angle, which you can easily adjust, you can have several people in the same shot.Testing During a Meeting
While the above tested out the initial video quality, the next test was to see how well the mics performed. I had a meeting in Google Meet and another in Skype.
I put on some background noise with a Spotify playlist to test out the noise-canceling feature. While I could hear my music in the background, the other party couldn’t. It wasn’t until I really turned it up that they could hear it well. Otherwise, they just heard my voice and some very faint typing. In the webcam’s defense, I am a very loud typist.
Throughout our meeting, the other party had no trouble hearing me. We didn’t experience any echoing or fading. In fact, I stood up at one point and moved around just to see how well the mics picked up. Even when I was several feet away, the other party could hear me clearly.
Here’s where I wasn’t quite as impressed, though. I took a screenshot of myself at the end of the Google Meet meeting. My client said I looked slightly blurry at times, but overall still clearer than my built-in webcam. They were kind enough to see how I looked on both webcams.
It could have been the light, though. The colors also seemed a bit more faded than I expected. However, I usually look much more washed out due to being pale. The white balance correction did add a little more color to my face.Auto Low-Light Correction Works
Of course, I had to put the eMeet Nova Webcam to the test concerning the auto low light correction. I always struggle to find a good place that’s not too dim or too bright. To see just what the webcam was capable of, I tried it with just a small desk light on dim about six feet away. Overall, it was incredibly dark where I was sitting.
However, the webcam still picked me up with no problem. In fact, I could actually hold a meeting like this, though it probably wouldn’t look as professional. Maybe I could just read a scary story.Final Thoughts
Overall, the eMeet Nova Webcam performed great throughout my tests. I could be heard clearly and the focus stayed clear even as I moved around. While there did seem to be a little blur, it wasn’t a real issue. Honestly, my built-in webcam has more blurry.
If you struggle with finding brighter lighting, this webcam has you covered. The auto low-light correction works well and helps balance colors.
While I do wish it came with a tripod, there is a place to add a small screw on a tripod yourself. If you don’t need one, then the built-in clip is all you need.
You can try out the eMeet Nova Webcam yourself for just $39.99.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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Good battery life
Decent main cameraCons
60Hz screenOur Verdict
The Honor 50 Lite falls short in storage, lack of waterproofing and 5G it makes up for in its impressive battery life, charging and style.
Honor has managed to make a strong first impression after parting ways with Huawei and the launch of its 50 range. Even if we are yet to really see what the company can do on its own.
The 50 Lite, while similar in many aspects to the flagship Honor 50, has noticeable differences right out of the gate such as its larger – though less impressive – centrally aligned camera ring and its lack of curved OLED display.
But where the 50 Lite has its shortcomings it makes up for with a number of other features that will appeal to any Android user looking for moderate use on a single charge. The 50 Lite’s battery and charging capabilities are particularly noteworthy as is its large display, particularly for the asking price.Design & Build
The ‘Lite’ suffix on this newer model certainly doesn’t refer to the phone’s weight and slimness.
It comes in moderately heavier (192g) and less slim (8.5mm) than the Honor 50 but with a larger screen this tradeoff makes sense.
It fits comfortably in the hand without a case and these larger dimensions give it a sense of depth without feeling unwieldy. However the 50 Lite’s reflective rear may make some users want to throw on a case if fingerprints are a big concern for them.
Of those designs comes three colours to choose from: Midnight Black, Space Silver and Deep Sea Blue. I was given the Deep Sea Blue model to test which is by far the most distinctive.
Its striped finish running down the centre of the rear body feels quite subdued compared to the options available on the Honor 50. It certainly doesn’t cheapen the overall look of the phone but it doesn’t make it stand out either.
Forgoing the dual camera ring design is the most tangible departure. While most slab phone designs have opted to house their camera ring in the topmost corner the 50 Lite’s is firmly rear and centre which, from a distance, gives it the appearance of a traditional point and shoot.Screen & Speakers
180Hz touch sampling
With a 6.67in screen and narrow bezel, the 50 Lite’s real estate is put to good use. The punch hole camera has also been aligned to the top-left side of the screen which further amplifies this use of space and integrates nicely into the rest of the notification bar.
Even when watching videos in a 16:9 widescreen ratio, the camera sits enough out of view not to take up any of the viewable screen. Anything viewed in a higher aspect ratio however such as 21:9 cinemascope will make the camera noticeable on videos when viewed in full screen, however.
The LCD display makes good use of the DCI-P3 Wide colour gamut and with a 391ppi, this is a big part of what makes the 50 Lite’s battery as efficient as it is. While an OLED display would have been preferable for a screen of this size it’s an understandable omission.
What we would expect these days is a higher refresh rate than the traditional 60Hz. Many rivals have 90- or even 120Hz for a similar or lower price.
The touch sampling rate comes in remarkably high for a phone at this price at 180Hz and should appeal to anyone hoping to use it for gaming on the go. Games that require fast inputs such as PUBG performed reasonably well in that respect but would serve less demanding games just as well.
Quite surprisingly, the 50 Lite also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack which should be a welcome addition to anyone with decent headphones. The inbuilt speaker however is less impressive.
Audio output is noticeably tinny, having lost some of its lower frequencies as a result of relegating sound output to a single speaker on the bottom right-hand portion of the phone. This will no doubt make the prospect of headphones more appealing for listening to music and podcasts.Specs & Performance
Up to 8GB RAM
There are two models of the 50 Lite to choose from with either 6- or 8GB of ram, both with a storage size of 128GB.
There is no microSD slot included so the internal storage capacity may fall short of people’s requirements, especially if they are transferring apps, photos and other files from a previous handset.
The Honor 50 Lite houses a Snapdragon 662 which can also be found in cheaper and ageing phones such as the Redmi 9 and Moto G9 Power. Note that the mid-range Snapdragon 662 from Qualcomm does not support 5G networks so you will need to look elsewhere if this is important – the Redmi Note 9T, for example.
According to the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmarking test, the 50 Lite performed just marginally below both of the models outlined above and fell short on the GFX tests. Performance is not the phone’s strong point.Cameras
64Mp main camera
2Mp macro & depth sensors
The camera ring is the most visually prominent feature on the handset and arguably the Honor 50’s second-biggest selling point.
While the Honor 50 has two separate camera rings, one for its 108Mp main and one for the rest, the 50 Lite houses all four main cameras in a single wheel. The main camera has seen a significant downgrade to 64Mp while the other three cameras have maintained the same specs as the Honor 50.
64Mp cameras have become a standard feature of budget to mid-range smartphones and this is no exception. For the majority of users who are looking for simplicity over versatility, The main camera on offer here can capture a great deal.
It fairs well in many shooting conditions, particularly in low lighting thanks to its dark mode feature, and users will have no issue taking photos with depth thanks to its low aperture. It’s limited to 8x zoom, however, and even before the 4x zoom mark a great deal of picture quality is lost.
The wide-angle lens might offer users plenty of opportunities to take group photos and set up other interesting shots but there is very little reason to use the macro camera.
At only 2Mp, pictures look noisy and the benefits of a macro lens are hard to see. Its presence, along with the depth sensor, feels more like an opportunity for window dressing rather than providing much practical use and the 50 Lite would have greatly benefitted from focusing on their other main cameras.
With a 16Mp front-facing camera, the 50 Lite also offers serviceable selfies for pictures and video calls with an integrated ‘beauty’ feature that can be adjusted with a slider.
Playing with this setting made the appearance of my skin noticeably brighter and ironed out some wrinkles without being too destructive of the image’s quality but whether it made me ‘beautiful’ is up for debate.Battery Life & Charging
The biggest talking point for this phone is unquestionably its impressive battery life. With a 4300mAh battery, it certainly has the capacity for moderate use, although we are used to seeing 4500-5000mAh batteries in phones this large.
According to its marketing materials, the Honor 50 Lite can provide up to seven hours of gaming, 16 hours of web browsing or eight hours of video calls.
This would stand to measure up against my usage. I have gone several days without needing to charge with moderate use and even when gaming, I was particularly impressed with how much charge was left after around two hours.
Even when the 50 Lite does need to charge it does so quickly. Out of the box, the phone comes with a 66W Honor Supercharge adapter and a USB-A to USB-C cable. Honor claims that this can provide up to 40% charge in 10 minutes and after our 30-minute charging test got up to 98%, this seems to align with that.Software
Magic UI 4.2
One carry-over from their previous relationship with Huawei is the Magic UI 4.2 operating system which runs on top of Android 11. However new Honor models offer full support for Google Mobile Services which is a great boon and will offer users greater flexibility and options when setting up the phone to their preferences.
The 50 Lite also comes with an additional suite of pre-installed applications but thankfully bloatware is kept to a minimum.
One notable feature available on the 50 Lite is ebook mode, which adjusts the screen’s colour temperature to the reader’s surroundings. When in use it gives the display a monochrome appearance but it would certainly be useful for anyone who likes to read before bed.Price & Availability
According to Honor’s website the phone is available to purchase in Europe, Latin America and EMEA territories with a promised price in the UK of £249.
You can buy it directly from Honor as well as retailers such as Carphone Warehouse, Currys, Mobiles and Alza.
With that in consideration, the Honor 50 Lite could comfortably be placed as a low-cost smartphone and for anyone looking to use it simply for online browsing, social media and taking quick photos on the go.
At this price, the Honor 50 Lite comes boxed with a 66W charger and USB-C cable, a screen protector and a phone case, which may be of interest to anyone hoping to use the device shortly after purchase at little to no additional cost.
Still, there are a lot of great budget phones around this price such as the Poco X3 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro you should consider.
Check out our chart of the best budget phones to see more options.Verdict
The 50 Lite has a build quality that could be expected from larger models both at a glance and in hand. It’s difficult to fault Honor for some of the design choices it has made with this build and the few faults it does have can be easy to overlook.
The main camera will provide adequate use for simple, hands-on photography but the increasing trend of quantity over quality when it comes to camera rings has let Honor down in this respect.
While it can be outperformed against competing models at a similar price point, the 50 Lite is a commendable effort to bring Honor’s emphasis on full Android support to its devices since parting from Huawei.
This is helped in part by its large display. Anyone hoping to find a ‘large’ phone at a markedly lower price point will find plenty to like here. Combine this with a battery that can keep up with heavy use most users will immediately reap the benefits straight out of the box.Specs Honor 50 Lite: Specs
Magic UI 4.2 based on Android 11
6.67in (1080×2340) LCD, 391ppi
Qualcomm Snap Dragon 662 Processor
6GB + 8 GB RAM
128GB storage, no microSD support
64Mp f/1.9 rear camera
8Mp f/2.4 Wide Angle camera
2Mp f/2.4 Depth camera
2Mp f/2.4 Macro Camera (4cm)
16Mp f/2.0 selfie camera
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
2.4GHz / 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
NFC (Russia and Europe Only)
66W Fast charging
161.8 x 74.7 x 8.5mm
Available in Midnight Black, Space Silver, Deep Sea Blue
Competitively priced among its peers, the Ring Floodlight Cam is an excellent device for monitoring – and protecting – your home from the comfort of your mobile phone. It detects motion, lights up the area, records activity, sounds a warning alarm if required, and allows two-way audio between you and whoever is on your premises. A subscription is not necessary but recommended, and shouldn’t break the bank at £25 / $36 per year. If you can live without two-way audio and would prefer a camera that requires no ongoing subscription, the Netatmo Presence is a great alternative.
Ring’s range of video doorbells is ideal not only for knowing who’s coming to your front door but also interacting with them, which is handy if you’ve got a delivery and you’re not in. But they cover only your front door, potentially leaving blind spots such as on your drive.
The Floodlight Cam is a new product from the company that integrates with the doorbell and can be controlled via the same mobile app. It can light up your premises when motion is detected, day or night, record anything that’s happening and send an alert direct to your mobile phone.
Should there be anything untoward occurring, you can remotely activate a 110dB siren, utilise two-way audio to warn off the unwanted visitor, and download the video footage as evidence.
Also see: Best home security camerasRing Floodlight Cam Price & Availability
Though it has an RRP of £249.99 from Amazon UK the Ring Floodlight Cam can often be found online much cheaper. Over in the US you’ll pay $249 from Amazon, but again you may well find it discounted.
The Floodlight Cam is available in black or white, so you can buy whichever best suits your property, whether that means blending it in or making it stand out to deter opportunists.
The closest rival is Netatmo’s Presence, reviewed, which costs around £210. The main difference between the two is that the Netatmo records to an internal microSD card and therefore doesn’t require any monthly subscription.
The Ring camera itself is weather-resistant and has a one-year parts warranty, but comes with lifetime purchase protection. This means if someone steals the Floodlight Cam Ring will replace it free of charge. However, for this purchase protection to apply the Floodlight Cam must be purchased from Ring itself.
There is a free 30-day trial for the cloud recording component, and you can still use the Live View mode within the app after this time without subscribing. To access recordings, however, you’ll want to subscribe.
A subscription for one device costs £2.50 per month or £24.99 per year, or £8 per month or £80 per year for unlimited devices. It’s not at all obvious from within the app, but you can also add another camera to the single plan without subscribing to the unlimited plan.Ring Floodlight Cam setup
If you have an existing security light set up to cover the area as we did, it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to set up the Ring Floodlight Cam. Though the marketing suggests it requires a professional installation, it’s quite easy to do yourself if you know what you’re doing and take the necessary precautions.
The only things you really need to consider are distance from your wireless router and the availability of mains power. The Floodlight Cam must be hardwired, unlike the video doorbells that can run off battery power, and it must connect to a 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi network, with a bare minimum 1Mbps upload speed (2Mbps is recommended).
Like most lights there are just two wires, plus an earth, and you connect it as you would any other light fitting.
If you don’t already have the Ring app you can download it free from Google Play or the App Store, and follow the prompts to set up an account.
It’s worth pointing out you can also view the feed from a Windows 10 PC or Mac by logging in via the Ring website.
Turn on the camera by pressing the button on top of the Floodlight Cam, then let the software guide you through the configuration process, which includes asking you to connect it to your Wi-Fi network, name the camera, and confirm its location.
The camera will then update its firmware, which can take a few minutes, but is then ready to go.
Using the mobile app you can independently set up motion zones for the lights and the camera, which can run at all times or just certain times such as overnight.
You can also schedule the lights to automatically turn on between certain times, or not to turn on at all during the day, and if you will be going in and out you can snooze motion detection for a predetermined amount of time.
The 110dB siren gives a warning like a car alarm, and must be manually activated from within the app.
Setting the motion zones for the lights works exactly the same as for the video doorbells, allowing you to adjust sensitivity on a sliding scale. But for the cameras you can draw onscreen exactly where you want it to pick up motion, which makes it possible to prevent you getting a notification every time someone passes by or a neighbour pulls on to their drive.Ring Floodlight Cam in use
In our testing with the Ring Floodlight Cam it worked flawlessly, picking up any motion on our driveway and instantly notifying us via our mobile phone. We didn’t find many rogue motion alerts, but if you do it’s easy to tone down the sensitivity.
The floodlights are incredibly bright, and the audio siren is super-loud at 110dB. Perhaps more importantly, when the Floodlight Cam does pick up motion its recording of the event is crystal clear with a 1080p video feed. If anyone is caught getting up to no good then you’ll get a good look at their face, even at night.
The two-way audio works well, given a strong internet connection. Over a mobile network you might find a small amount of lag, but it’s workable.
You can angle the camera to get the best picture. It has a 270-degree field of view, but the mount is also adjustable with a 140-degree field of view. If necessary you can pinch to zoom in, either within Live View mode or the recorded video itself.
Recorded videos can be downloaded to your device or shared via Facebook, or in an email or text message. You can also directly upload them to Nextdoor.co.uk if you have an account – this is a private social network for your local neighbourhood. If none of these options suit you can also get a link to the video on Ring’s servers that you share via other means.
One potential drawback of these recordings is they are not constant, as they are with other home-security systems. That makes it simpler to find, download and share just the portion of the stream you need, but if action is happening just outside the motion zone it may not pick up all the incriminating footage you’d like.Related articles for further reading Specs Ring Floodlight Cam: Specs
Hardwired floodlight camera (100-240V)
2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connection, minimum upload 1Mbps, 2Mbps recommended
two-way audio with noise cancellation
1080p HD Video
Custom Motion Zones
270-degree field of view
2x 3000° Kelvin floodlights
110dB remote-activated siren
adjustable camera mount with 140° field of view
smart zoom with panning
4.75in diameter mounting base
1 year parts warranty
lifetime purchase protection
-28°C-50°C operating temperature
About 1480 light-years away from Earth, a star is doing something astronomers have never seen before. Every now and then, at random intervals, its light dips by as much as 22 percent. That’s way too much to be a planet. And the star (officially named KIC 8462852, but informally called “Tabby’s Star” or “Boyajian’s Star”) seems to have gotten dramatically darker over the past century.
This odd behavior defies all known explanations, and astronomer Jason Wright has pointed out that these light patterns are similar to what we might expect if aliens built a complex of machines around the star to harvest its energy. But even Wright admits it’s much more likely there’s a natural explanation. In September, he and coauthor Steinn Sigurd̵sson rounded up and analyzed some of the most common explanations.
Wright has been been fleshing out those analyses in a series of posts on his blog.
We’ve rounded up our favorite explanations here, in rough order from least likely to most plausible.Did Kepler mess up? Nope.
The data checks out. When the Kepler telescope detected the huge light dips from KIC 8462852, nothing was wonky in the telescope, and there’s nothing particularly odd about any of the other data it collected at the same time.
Between 2009 and 2013, the Kepler space telescope stared at a single patch of the sky, searching for exoplanets. Around the star KIC 8462852, it appears to have spotted something much stranger. Artist illustration, NASA / Wendy Stenzel
It’s not possible that the telescope pixels that imaged Boyajian’s Star were faulty, because the star’s image wasn’t always on the same pixels. As the star moved throughout the month, and as the telescope shifted positions, different detectors monitored Boyajian’s Star, and they all showed that the star was acting bizarre. “The dips are real,” writes Wright.
For a few months, scientists argued about whether the star has been getting dimmer over the past century. Those observations were based on old and imprecise astronomy data. But a new analysis indicates the star dimmed significantly over the four years that the Kepler telescope watched it, and therefore probably over the past century as well.Could a black hole eat up the light? Nope.
Despite the popular image of a black hole gobbling up everything in its path, including light, black holes could not be responsible for darkening Boyajian’s Star.
Wright explained to Popular Science that if a black hole were sitting close to Boyajian’s Star, its massive gravity would make the star wobble, which scientists would be able to observe from Earth. It doesn’t wobble. Plus, if it were sucking material off of the star, the stuff falling into the black hole would actually give off bright light and extra xrays, which scientists don’t see.
But what if a black hole were sitting farther away from Boyajian’s Star, between the star and Earth? Still no. Counter intuitively, the black hole would act like a lens, actually brightening the light we would see from Earth.Could it be a sunspot? Unlikely.
Spots on our sun do cause tiny drops in brightness, but we’re talking about a few tenths of a percent. To cause a huge dip in KIC 8462852’s light levels, on the order of 20 percent, the starspots would need to be “10–100 times larger than the strongest effects known in other stars,” Wright noted in his blog post. Plus Boyajian’s Star is spinning rapidly, so the dips caused by those starspots would appear and disappear every day, instead of lasting for days.
But what if the spots were on the poles of the spinning star, and the pole is constantly pointed at us? That still seems pretty unlikely, says Wright, given the fact that Boyajian’s Star is a type of star that doesn’t usually have big spots.Comets? Maybe, but probably not.
Comets are actually the explanation favored by Tabetha Boyajian, the star’s discoverer. The idea is that a family of extra-large comets may be jumbled up in the star’s orbit, blocking its light in irregular ways.
If the comets are there, they must be pretty far away from the star, otherwise astronomers would be able to see extra heat coming off of them. The lack of extra heat rules out pretty much every potential explanation that relies on something big being in orbit around the star.
Illustration of the star KIC 8462852
Although scientists have suggested the weird light dips from this star might come from a family of mega-sized comets, there isn’t yet a scientific explanation that fits.
But while the comet hypothesis could explain the short-term dips in light that occurred in 2011 and 2013, it doesn’t explain the star’s long-term dimming, says Wright. And in his opinion, the best hypothesis should explain both phenomena.
“It is pretty outrageous,” Boyajian admitted in a recent webcast, “but all of the things that have been put forth have been pretty outrageous so far.”An interstellar black hole disk? Maybe!
Although a black hole is definitely not eating up the light from Boyajian’s Star, there’s another way a black hole could be blocking the light. Maybe there’s something big and dark in the interstellar medium between Boyajian’s Star and Earth.
A disk of material orbiting a black hole is one possible explanation. (Debris disks also orbit stars and planets, but since astronomers don’t see anything like that, this object would have to be dark … such as a black hole.)
For this hypothesis to work, the disk of material clotting around the black hole would have to be huge–something on the order of 600 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun–in order to block the star’s light for such long periods of time, despite the star’s monthly movements.
A disk of debris circling an interstellar black hole is one possible explanation for the weird behavior of Boyajian’s Star. NASA
Wright says that although we’ve never seen a black hole disk that big, it’s not ruled out by physics. If there is a large disk there, scientists might confirm this hypothesis if the debris passes in front of neighboring stars.Other interstellar stuff? Also maybe!
The space between stars is filled with gas, dust, as well as filaments and sheets of material clumped together by gravity. It’s possible that a particularly dense part of this interstellar medium got caught between us and Boyajian’s Star, absorbing some of its light.
To create the huge light dips, these filaments or sheets would need to be about 1000 times smaller and denser than we think they are, but it’s not impossible, says Wright. Maybe structures like that are just so small and rare that we’ve never spotted anything like it before now.
Like interstellar phantoms, dark nebula called Bok globules have been known to blot out stars. Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), NASA
Dark nebulae known as Bok globules could also be to blame. These black, star-forming clouds of dust and gas have been known to blot out stars before. Perhaps as turbulent gas and dust swirls around inside the globule, dense patches form and dim the light we see from Boyajian’s Star.
“It would be kind of unusual to see one of these clouds in this part of the sky,” says Wright, but it’s not impossible.
Both phenomena–the interstellar sheets and dark nebulae–would be expected to darken our view of the stars that neighbor Boyajian’s Star. Trouble is, the nearby stars are faint, which makes it difficult to measure their brightness precisely, so astronomers aren’t sure whether or not that’s happening.Aliens? Who knows.
The hypothesis that aliens are building a megastructure around the star to harvest its energy runs into the same problem the comets did: any object in orbit around the star should absorb light and re-emit it as excess heat, but astronomers aren’t detecting excess heat.
Artist illustration of a crumbling Dyson sphere
Illustration of a Dyson sphere around a star
But who knows, maybe an alien civilization capable of building star-sized structures has also figured out how to utilize all of the sun’s energy, including heat. That’s the problem with alien-related hypotheses–there’s no good way to disprove them, since we don’t know what such a civilization would be like or what they’d be capable of. It’s also impossible to calculate the odds of intelligent alien life out there in the cosmos, so it’s kind of tough to say how this hypothesis stacks up to the rest. However, we know interstellar material exists, and we don’t know whether aliens exist, so our money would be on the natural (non-alien) hypotheses.
Wright has been careful to point out that aliens should always be a last resort hypothesis, after everything else has been ruled out. Nevertheless, he and Boyajian and other scientists are investigating Boyajian’s Star using the most thorough alien-hunting equipment available.
Meanwhile, all manner of telescopes have turned their attention to Boyajian’s Star, from the Swift Observatory to the Spitzer space telescope to the backyard spyglasses of amateur astronomers. They are monitoring the star in optical, infrared, UV, and x ray spectrums. The next time something weird happens around Boyajian’s Star, scientists around the world will be ready to collect as much data as possible, to help settle the question of what the heck is going on around this star.
Pacific Rim 2 penned, awaiting green light and plotline
The original Pacific Rim was released this summer – it was met with mixed reviews by critics, but more than a little bit of a positive response from those key to the success of a potential series: the fans. This week it’s been revealed by the director of Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro, that he’s been flattered by reports of hardcore fans seeing the film in theaters several times. It would appear that the film has struck such gold – be it underground or straight through mainstream ticket sales – that a second film is being written right this minute.
Confirmed by del Toro in an interview with IGN, there’s not just a remote possibility of a follow-up film to the original Pacific Rim, there’s literally a second film script in the works. Suggesting that at least a few of the original crew were already hard at work, del Toro made clear that the “green lighting” of the film was not finalized yet – and that deciding on the film moving forward was “above [his] pay grade.”
So what’s possible for a second film? Could it simply be a follow-up in time – additional Kaiju fighting down Hong Kong way? There’s always that – we’d certainly not object to an array of monsters vs Jager films, no matter how clashing such a series would be with the likes of Godzilla – another monster film series getting a clean re-boot sooner than later.
But Pacific Rim, it being an original film (not a reboot) in and of itself, creates an interesting universe the likes of which we’re invited to return to time and again. There’s always the possibility that this film could cover the many, many years of Kaiju action that occurred in quick flashes in the first Pacific Rim film. Perhaps a film simply titled: The Breach. The first monsters arriving to the point at which the Jaegers begin construction.
No matter what, we’re going to go ahead and demand that Charlie Day continue to be involved. There’s nothing like a good ol’ Charlie character to keep the film light in the face of the possibility of getting too serious about massive monsters fighting robots in the sea. It’d be an absolute travesty if Charlie Kelly never saw another Kaiju brain, that’s for certain.
UPDATE: It would also appear that, according to Day himself, del Toro considered having his character “Newt” turn from good to evil for the sequel. Of course we don’t want to reveal the key piece of information that’d speak to Newt’s need to switch his allegiance, so we wont. Instead you can find that spoiler out at SciFi Now, the source of the quote, if you like.
Long story short – it’s likely that Charlie Day will continue to play the part of a good guy in the second film – if and when he’s a part of it. He “resonated” well with the audience in the first Pacific Rim film – well done.
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