July 21st, 2017


The SETI Institute and French startup Unistellar announced a partnership today to commercialize a new telescope that promises to deliver an unparalleled view of the cosmos to amateur astronomers, and provide the opportunity to contribute directly to cutting-edge science. Unistellar's new eVscope leverages "Enhanced Vision" imaging technology and now provides three unique features never before offered in a compact mass-market instrument thanks to this partnership:

- Enhanced Vision produces extremely sharp, detailed images of even faint astronomical objects by accumulating their light and projecting it into the telescope's eyepiece.

- Autonomous Field Detection (AFD) powered by GPS, enables the eVscope to pinpoint celestial objects of interest without complicated alignment procedures or expensive equatorial mounts.

- Campaign Mode, a revolutionary and exciting feature developed at the SETI Institute, takes advantage of the telescope's advanced imaging technology and allows users around the world to participate in observing campaigns to image and collect data on objects of special interest to researchers.

"Classical high-end telescopes are wonderful tools for observing the four main planets. But they are generally disappointing for viewing fainter and more distant objects, which remain inaccessible to amateur astronomers," said Laurent Marfisi, Unistellar CEO. "Our telescope will revolutionize amateur astronomy by allowing people to see in real time, celestial objects that until now have only been available as images in books or online. Our compact 4.5-inch telescope allows observers to see objects fainter than Pluto and achieve sensitivity equivalent to a one-meter telescope!"

Kemo D. 7
Credit: SETI Institute
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The Last Unexplored Place on Earth

The landscape could be in upstate New York, western Maine, or any number of other scenic places: a few large lakes, many small ones, wide rivers and slow-flowing streams, water-filled hollows and soggy ground, all set in a stony land. But that’s where the resemblance to familiar landscapes ends. Here, no clouds float by, no rain falls, and no stars shine; there is no sunlight or moonshine, and no air at all. Instead, spread over this water-rich landscape, covering it almost completely and sealing it in, is 5 million square miles of glacial ice, roughly two miles thick and a million years old. This bizarre scene is found in Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth. If it were possible to lift up the giant ice sheets, that watery, stony terrain is what would remain. But of course it is not possible, so nobody knows what the buried landscape really looks like or how many living things may be down there. As of only a few decades ago, no one knew this world of buried lakes and rivers even existed. Now scientists are paying serious attention to it.

Journalists have dubbed it “the last unexplored place on Earth” and “one of Earth’s last frontiers.”

Kemo D. 7
Credit: Discover Magazine

The Legend of Lyonesse

Lyonesse is a lost island off the coast of Cornwall in England. It’s famous both as the home of Sir Tristan in Arthurian legends and for its mysterious disappearance.

According to folk stories, the land was drowned in a single night as punishment for the sins of its inhabitants. Only one man escaped, racing ahead of the flood on a white horse. Modern archeologists speculate that the legend refers to several of the Isles of Scilly.

These were above sea level at the time of the Roman conquest of Britain but were later covered by water due to changing currents and ice melt. Diving expeditions have found the remains of many settlements on the submerged islands.

In spite of various scientific explanations, the legend remains. Locals will tell visitors to listen for the bells of drowned Lyonesse, which can be hearing ringing under the water on stormy nights.

Kemo D. 7

The Valentich Disappearance

Frederick Valentich was a 20-year-old pilot who on October 21, 1978 disappeared with his light airplane. He was on his scheduled flight from Moorabbin Airport to King Island in Australia. He disappeared leaving no trace of him or his plane over Bass Strait. What intensifies the mystery is what Valentich reported seeing from his plane. Just minutes before going black, Valentich reported Melbourne air traffic control that he was being companioned by another aircraft 1,000 feet above him. He described some strange maneuvers and features of the aircraft. He said that his engine had begun running roughly, and finally reported that the “strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again. It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.” He and his aircraft were never found.

Finally after tedious investigation, Australian Department of Transport concluded that the reason behind his disappearance was inconclusive.

Kemo D. 7

Meet Hyperrealism

This is NOT a photo! Inspired by photorealism, hyperrealism is a contemporary school of painting that evokes the illusion of photography. With advancements in cameras, lenses, and digital equipment, artists have been able to be far more precision-oriented in their practice, culminating in an entirely new genre of contemporary art that makes you do a double take. Unlike photorealist painters who may make aesthetic alterations and consciously omit details in order to emulate photographic images, hyperrealists take a more literal approach to representation. Like the source photos themselves, photorealist paintings incorporate elements like depth of field, perspective, and even focus. All compositional quirks are reproduced, and imperfections are never concealed.

Because hyperrealist art suggests a false reality, it requires a high level of skill.

Artists: Yigal Ozeri, Damian Lob, Brian Drury, Jason de Graaf, and Pedro Campos.

Kemo D. 7