We are saddened by the passing of our friend and long-time STAT club member, Loretta Shaneybrook. Loretta was a constant presence at Shore Leave, working behind the scenes for decades, and also at STAT club meetings as chair of the social committee, organizing holiday parties and the club’s annual picnic. If you ever volunteered at the convention, you likely remember Loretta as the lady on the scooter, bringing snacks and water to the people working at the event. She will be missed. She is survived by her husband, Randy Bruner. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through this difficult time.
Loretta Shaneybrook passed away on Wednesday, June 12.
We are saddened by the passing of artist Keith Birdsong. Birdsong made a name for himself with his photo-realistic paintings, many of which graced the covers of Star Trek novels. In 1992, he was a guest at Shore Leave 14 and again in 1996 at Shore Leave 18.
Keith Birdsong passed away on June 4, 2019 at the age of 59.
Peter William Mayhew was an English-American actor, best known for portraying Chewbacca in the Star Wars film series. He played the character in all of his live action appearances from the 1977 original to 2015’s The Force Awakens before his retirement from the role.
Mayhew died of a heart attack on 30 April 2019 at his home in Boyd, Texas, at the age of 74. He is survived by his wife, Angie Mayhew, and their three children. The family will hold a funeral on 29 June and in early December 2019, there will be a memorial for fans of Chewbecca in Los Angeles at EmpireConLA
Speculation about how Patrick Stewart will reprise his role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard for CBS All Access’ upcoming Star Trek series has been nearly as mysterious as space itself. But thanks to one of the new show’s executives, we’re beginning to learn that it definitely won’t resemble anything we’ve seen before on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Alex Kurtzman, a longtime Star Trek writer and executive producer of both Star Trek: Discovery and the new series, says Picard will be living a very different life than the one he knew on the bridge of the Enterprise, thanks to a traumatic and life-changing calamity dating all the way back to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie — a film Kurtzman co-wrote.
The destruction of the Romulan homeworld in 2009’s Star Trek, Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter, was a defining event in Picard’s career, one that sets up the role Stewart will play on the still-untitled new show. “Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire,” Kurtzman explained, adding that Stewart himself loved the show’s new premise, once he’d seen how different his reprised role would be.
“He [Stewart] threw down an amazing gauntlet and said, ‘If we do this, I want it to be so different, I want it to be both what people remember but also not what they’re expecting at all, otherwise why do it?’” Kurtzman said. After reading the creative team’s 34-page pitch for the new show, Stewart “walked into the room and he had a huge smile on his face and said, ‘This is wonderful.’ … He knew if he was going to go back to Picard, it needed to be for the greatest reason ever.”
Details about the new series are still light, but it already appears as if Picard won’t be saddled with the workaday business of coordinating his old crew’s adventures from one episode to the next, in the comfortable — if somewhat predictable — fashion of The Next Generation. But Kurtzman did add that “anything could happen,” when asked whether some of the old TNG cast might show up on the new show for a cameo or two.
CBS All Access’ new Star Trek series still hasn’t been given a firm release date, but it’s expected to boldly go live on the streaming service before the end of 2019.
Starring Aidan Gillen and Michael Malarkey, the 10-episode series is based on the true, top-secret investigations into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena conducted by the U.S. Air Force from 1952-69. Neal McDonough, Michael Harney, Laura Mennell and Ksenia Solo co-star.
Project Blue Book is inspired by the personal experiences of Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Gillen), a brilliant college professor recruited by the Air Force to spearhead the titular clandestine operation that researched thousands of cases — more than 700 of which remain unsolved to this day. Each episode draws from the actual case files blending UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in U.S. history. Delving into such themes as trust, instinct, real news vs. fake news and government cover-up, the series straddles the world of science and the exploration of the unknown, History said.
Hubble Space Telescope has literally discovered the age, size, and fate of our Universe.
Among the TV series Star Trek’s many charms are its rich universe of characters and planets. Now, the Dharma Planet Survey, in a new study led by University of Florida (UF) astronomer Jian Ge and team including Tennessee State University (TSU) astronomers Matthew Muterspaugh and Gregory Henry, has shown that science fiction may be a little less so; the Dharma project has discovered what may be Star Trek’s famed planet Vulcan.
“The new planet is a ‘super-Earth’ orbiting the star HD 26965, which is only 16 light-years from Earth, making it the closest super-Earth orbiting another Sun-like star,” says Ge. “The planet is roughly twice the size of Earth and orbits its star with a 42-day period just inside the star’s optimal habitable zone.” The discovery was made using the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope (DEFT), a 50-inch telescope located atop Mt. Lemmon in southern Arizona. The planet is the first “super-Earth” detected by the Dharma Survey.
“The orange-tinted HD 26965 is only slightly cooler and slightly less massive than our Sun, is approximately the same age as our Sun, and has a 10.1-year magnetic cycle nearly identical to the Sun’s 11.6-year sunspot cycle,” explains Muterspaugh, who helped to commission the Dharma spectrograph on the TSU 2-meter automatic spectroscopic telescope. “Therefore,” he adds, “HD 26965 may be an ideal host star for an advanced civilization.”
“Star Trek fans may know the star HD 26965 by its alternative moniker, 40 Eridani A,” says Henry, who collected precise brightness measurements of the star at TSU’s automated observatory needed to confirm the presence of the planet. “Vulcan was connected to 40 Eridani A in the publications ‘Star Trek 2’ by James Blish (Bantam, 1968) and ‘Star Trek Maps’ by Jeff Maynard (Bantam, 1980),” explains Henry. In a letter published in the periodical “Sky and Telescope” in July 1991, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, along with Sallie Baliunas, Robert Donahue, and George Nassiopoulos of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics confirmed the identification of 40 Eridani A as Vulcan’s host star. The 40 Eridani star system is composed of three stars. Vulcan orbits the primary star, and the two companion stars “would gleam brilliantly in the Vulcan sky,” they wrote in their 1991 letter.
“Vulcan is the home planet of Science Officer Mr. Spock in the original ‘Star Trek’ Sci-Fi series,” says Henry. “Spock served on the starship Enterprise, whose mission was to seek out strange new worlds, a mission shared by the Dharma Planet Survey.”
“This star can be seen with the naked eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date. Now anyone can see 40 Eridani on a clear night and be proud to point out Spock’s home,” says Bo Ma, a UF postdoc on the team and the first author of the paper just published in “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.”
“This discovery demonstrates that fully dedicated telescopes conducting high-cadence, high-precision radial velocity observations in the near future will continue to play a key role in the discovery of more super-Earths and even Earth-like planets in the habitable zones around nearby stars,” says Ge. “I am very grateful to the donor of our Dharma Planet Survey, Mr. Mickey Singer, who recognized the importance of this project and has continuously provided support to make this and future discoveries possible.”
This article was ISSUED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN GAINESVILLE