Posted in Events, nature, Science-tech

Comet Ison

Astronomers recently confirmed that Comet Ison, dubbed the “comet of the century”, has entered the Earth’s orbit.The comet has dramatically brightened with an outburst of gases in recent days as it draws ever closer to the sun,  and if it survives it could be the greatest celestial display in more than 300 years.It is now visible to the naked eye and is expected to continue brightening over the next few weeks until it outshines the moon.

The Comet Ison is so named because it was first spotted on photos taken by Russian’s Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok using the International Scientific Optical Network telescope last September, while it was still 585 million miles from the sun.The ball of ice and dust is thought to originate from the Oort cloud, a giant swarm of icy remnants from the creation of the solar system, which sits 93 trillion miles from Earth.Although other comets, such as Hale-Bopp, are thought to have originated from the cloud this is the first “sungrazer” to have come from the space on the edge of the solar system in 200 years.

Ison, which is travelling at 234 miles (377km) a second, is due to come closest to the sun on November 28, when it is expected to pass 720,000 miles from the solar surface and heat up to 2,760C (5,000F).If predictions are correct the galactic show will rival the Great Comet of 1680, which had a tail 90 million miles long and could be seen during the day because it was so bright, leading many to think it was a punishment from God.Even if Ison breaks up before then, or fails to survive its perihelion, its closest scrape with the sun, experts believe its death throes could be spectacular and say they have already learnt a great deal from it.Matthew Knight, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona and a member of Nasa’s Ison observation campaign, said: “Astronomers are getting the chance to study a unique comet travelling straight from 4.5 billion years of deep freeze into a near miss with the solar furnace using the largest array of telescopes in history.“No matter what happens, now that Ison has made it inside Earth’s orbit, any or all of these scenarios are scientifically exciting.”If the comet – which is best observed through a telescope or strong binoculars – survives its scrape with the sun it will reach its most brilliant in early December.

ISON isn’t the only comet currently visible in the sky either. There are four.  Lovejoy R1, 2P Enke, and Linear X1.All visible with 15x binoculars.You can go to to see Comet ISON’s position in the sky in your area. When typing in the Comet’s name,you must use C/2012 S1 (ISON) in the search bar on the right you can also find more information on the following websites

Posted in films & DVD, Television

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

Scottish television writer and producer Steven Moffat was, born 18 November 1961 Moffat’s first television work was the teen drama series Press Gang. His first sitcom, Joking Apart, was inspired by the breakdown of his first marriage; conversely, his later sitcom Coupling was based upon the development of his relationhip with television producer Sue Vertue. In between the two relationship-centred shows, he wrote Chalk, a sitcom set in a comprehensive school inspired by his own experience as an English teacher.A lifelong fan of Doctor Who, Moffat has written several episodes of the revived version and succeeded Russell T Davies as lead writer and executive producer when production of its fifth series began in 2009. He co-wrote The Adventures of Tintin for directorSteven Spielberg, a project he left for his new senior role on Doctor Who. He co-createdSherlock, an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories.Many of the programmes upon which he has worked have won awards, including four BAFTAs and four Hugo Awards. In 2012, he was awarded the BAFTA Special Award.


Dalek4Dalek creator Terry Nation is to have a blue plaque unveiled in his honour at the house in Cardiff where he was born.Nation, who died in 1997 aged 66, was a screenwriter on Doctor Who when he came up with the ideas for the aliens who are almost as famous as the Time Lord himself.The unveiling comes during the week of the 50th anniversary of the BBC sci-fi series.The Daleks made their first appearance in December 1963.Nation was born in the suburb of Llandaff, close to the city’s cathedral, and near to the childhood home of fellow writer Roald Dahl.The plaque has been arranged by the Llandaff Society whose chairman Geoffrey Barton-Greenwood once met Nation when the writer, who had by this time moved to Hollywood, was visiting friends in the Cardiff area.He said: “I knew immediately who he was. I had been watching the Doctor Who series from the very beginning. I didn’t at that stage know that he was a Llandaff boy.Continue reading the main story“Start QuoteThere are stories of neighbours seeing him, as a boy, sitting on the back step jotting down story ideas in his notebook”Geoffrey Barton-GreenwoodLlandaff Society”He was obviously a very impressive character. He had stature and gravitas.”Four years ago, the society unveiled a blue plaque just yards away in memory of another local writer, Roald Dahl.’Play on words’Mr Barton-Greenwood believes there may be a connection between the name of the famous writer and the name Nation gave to his armoured mutant creations.He said: “There is a connection in that they are ‘Daleks’ and Roald ‘Dahl’ was only from around the corner.”I think Terry Nation might well have been having a play on words.”It would be an extreme coincidence that these guys came from such a short distance apart and yet came up with this sort of affinity.”


Doctor Who: Monsters and Villains Weekend aired on BBC Three, between November  15 and 17, allowing fans to vote on the ultimate monsters and villains from among The Daleks, The Cybermen, The Sontarens, The Silurians, the Zygons, The Master, The Judoon, the Weeping Angels, The Silence. The Ice Warriora, The Clockwodk Robots and The Oood

Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide

This show used archive footage to introduce unfamiliar viewers to the show. The Culture Show will air a one-hour special entitled “You, Me and Doctor Who” which will explore the cultural significance of the programme.Professor Brian Cox presented a one-hour special, “The Science of Doctor Who”, which explores the scientific questions and accuracy of the show, on BBC Two. The show aired at 9pm on Thursday 14 November on BBC Two and was specially recorded at the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, featuring celebrity guests

The Day of the Doctor

Rich_Zygon_19884The 50th anniversary special of  Doctor Who is called Day of the Doctor. It is written by Steven Moffat,who also serves as executive producer alongside Faith Penhale. It has been described by series producer Marcus Wilson as a “love letter to the fans” and by the controller of BBC One, Danny Cohen, as an “event drama”.It will be shown on BBC One on 23 November 2013 in both 2D and 3D. The special is due to be broadcast simultaneously in several countries, and will also be shown concurrently in 3D in some cinemas.David Tennant and Billie Piper, who previously starred in Doctor Who as the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler respectively, have been lined up to appear in the special.John Hurt will also star as a previously unknown past incarnation of the Doctor, the “War Doctor”, introduced at the end of the Series 7 finale “The Name of the Doctor”.Joanna Page is also due to star in the episode. Jemma Redgrave will reprise her role as Kate Stewart. The special will feature the return of the Daleks as well as the return of the Zygons, shape-shifting aliens which up until now have only appeared in the 1975 serial Terror of the Zygons.

The Day of the Doctor” is planned to be released on DVD and 3D Blu-ray on 2 December 2013 in the UK. It will be released on 4 December 2013 in Australia. The 50th Anniversary will also be released on 10 December 2013 for North America.

An Adventure in Space and Time,

As a part of the worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who  the BBC will broadcast An Adventure in Space and Time, a docu-drama written by  Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss, , chronicling the inception and early years of Doctor Who. and starring David Bradley as the first Doctor William Hartnell, the drama follows the series’ first producer Verity Lambert- who was also the BBC’s first female producer – and director Waris Hussein as they struggle to get the innovative children’s show off the ground through the decision to introduce the idea of regeneration, allowing the series to live past any one actor’s portrayal.

An Adventure in Space and Time will air on 21 November 2013 on BBC Two and BBC Two HD and be repeated on BBC America in the United States on 22 November 2013 . “The Night of the Doctor”, an additional 7 minute special was released on 14 November 2013, and featured the Eighth Doctor’s (Paul McGann) regeneration into the War Doctor(John Hurt). Another 4 minute special, entitled “The Last Day”, was also released.On 4 November, 2013, the BBC released the official synopsis: “The Doctors embark on their greatest adventure in this 50th anniversary special. In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him

English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, Neil Richard Gaiman was born 10 November 1960.Gaiman also wrote an episode of the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who, broadcast in 2011 during Matt Smith’s second series as the Doctor. Shooting began in August 2010 for this episode, the original title of which was “The House of Nothing but which was eventually transmitted as “The Doctor’s Wife” The episode won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)In 2011,

Posted in cars, Science-tech, sport

Sir Alec Issigonis & Petter Solberg

Norwegian professional rally and rallycross driver Ptter Solberg was born 18 November 1974 in Spydeberg in Østfold. He debuted in the World Rally Championship in 1998 and was signed by the Ford factory team in 1999. The following year, Solberg started his successful partnership with the Subaru World Rally Team.With the Subaru works team, Solberg finished runner-up to Marcus Grönholm in 2002 and then became the first Norwegian to win the drivers’ world title in 2003. In the following two seasons, he finished runner-up to Sébastien Loeb. Following Subaru’s withdrawal from the WRC at the end of the 2008 season, Solberg secured private backing to start the Petter Solberg World Rally Team and competed with aCitroën Xsara WRC and a Citroën C4 WRC. He switched to rallycross after the 2012 season.


British car designer Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis, CBE, FRS was born 18 November 1906. He is remembered chiefly for the groundbreaking and influential development of the Mini, launched by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1959. Issigonis went into the motor industry as an engineer and designer working for Humber and competed successfully in motor racing during the 1930s and 1940s. Starting around 1930, he raced a supercharged “Ulster” Austin Seven, later fitting it with a front axle of his own design, leading to employment at Austin. This greatly modified machine was replaced with a radical special completed in 1939, constructed of plywood laminated in aluminium sheeting. The suspension was also of advanced design, with trailing arm front suspension attached to a steel cross-member, and swing axle rear, all with rubber springs made of catapult elastic. This car was remarkably light, weighing 587 lb, of which the engine contributed 252 lb. By the time the chassis had been completed (hard labour – it was all done by hand, no power tools), Issigonis had moved to Morris Motors LImited, but Austin supplied a “works” specification supercharged side-valve engine. Issigonis usually won, even when entered in the 1100cc class if there was no 750cc category.

Most events entered were sprints, but he also raced at circuits.In 1936, he moved to Morris Motors Limited at Cowley working on an independent front suspension system for the Morris 10. The war prevented this design from going into production but it was later used on the MG Y-type. He worked on various projects for Morris through the war and towards its end started work on an advanced post war car codenamed Mosquito that became the Morris Minor, which was produced from 1948 until 1971. In 1952, just as BMC was formed by the merger of Morris and Austin, he moved to Alvis Cars where he designed an advanced saloon with all-aluminium V-8 engine, and experimented with interconnected independent suspension systems. This prototype was never manufactured because its cost was beyond Alvis’ resources.

At the end of 1955, Issigonis was recruited back into BMC – this time into the Austin plant at Longbridge – by its chairman Sir Leonard Lord, to design a new model family of three cars. The XC (experimental car) code names assigned for the new cars were XC/9001 – for a large comfortable car, XC/9002 – for a medium-sized family car, and XC/9003 – for a small town car. During 1956 Issigonis concentrated on the larger two cars, producing several prototypes for testing.However, at the end of 1956, following fuel rationing brought about by the Suez Crisis, Issigonis was ordered by Lord to bring the smaller car, XC/9003, to production as quickly as possible. By early 1957, prototypes were running, and by mid-1957 the project was given an official drawing office project number (ADO15) so that the thousands of drawings required for production could be produced


In August 1959 the car was launched as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven, which soon became known as the Austin Mini. In later years, the car would become known simply as the Mini. Due to time pressures, the interconnected suspension system that Issigonis had planned for the car was replaced by an equally novel, but cruder, rubber cone system designed by Alex Moulton. The Mini went on to become the best selling British car in history with a production run of 5.3 million cars. This ground-breaking design, with its front wheel drive, transverse engine, sump gearbox, 10-inch wheels, and phenomenal space efficiency, was still being manufactured in 2000 and has been the inspiration for almost all small front-wheel drive cars produced since the early 1960s.

In 1961, with the Mini gaining popularity, Issigonis was promoted to Technical Director of BMC. He continued to be responsible for his original XC projects. XC/9002 became ADO16 and was launched as the Morris 1100 with the Hydrolastic interconnected suspension system in August 1962. XC/9001 became ADO17 and was launched, also with the Hydrolastic suspension system, as the Austin 1800 in October 1964.The same principle was carried over for his next production car the Austin Maxi, However by then he had become more aware of the cost considerations of vehicle manufacture and in service warranty costs which were crippling BMC. It certainly appeared by the Maxi development era that Issigonis wanted to “do his own thing” as cost cutting and development costs spiraled. He would instead research work on his Mini replacement the 9X with its compact transverse engine.

With the creation of British Leyland in 1969, new chairman Lord Stokes quickly sidelined Issigonis and made him into what was termed “Special Developments Director”, replacing him with Harry Webster as the new Technical Director (Small/Medium cars). Stokes was heard on his appointment to say: “We’ll sharp sort this bloke Issigonis out!”.Issigonis (nicknamed “The Greek god” by his contemporaries) was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967 and was awarded a knighthood in 1969. Whilst he is most famous for his creation of the Mini, he was most proud of his participation in the design of the Morris Minor. He considered it to be a vehicle that combined many of the luxuries and conveniences of a good motor car with a price suitable for the working classes – in contrast to the Mini which was a spartan mode of conveyance with everything cut to the bone.Sir Alec officially retired from the motor industry in 1971. Issigonis continued working until shortly before his death in 1988 at his house in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and was cremated at the Lodge Hill Crematorium in nearby Selly Oak.On 15 October 2006 a rally was held at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, England, to celebrate the centenary of Sir Alec’s birth.There is a road named “Alec Issigonis Way” in Oxford Business Park on the former site of the Morris Motors factory in Cowley, Oxford