Unique and Interesting Exoplanets

There are many exoplanets in our universe, all with varying characteristics. Here are just a few of them that have been discovered.

#1: The Ocean Planet – GJ1214b

This planet is likely to be an ocean planet, meaning it is entirely covered with one large ocean (no land). It is located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

#2: The Fast Planet – PSRJ1719-14b

Exoplanet PSRJ1719-14b quickly orbits its star; it takes about 2.2 hours for the planet to complete a full orbit around its sun. However, this is not the planet’s only unique characteristic. In addition to its fast orbit, this exoplanet also has a chance of being made of diamonds, although this has not been proved. Diamond planets form when the pressure and temperature are high enough to turn the carbon on the planet into diamonds. It is about 3,914 light-years away from Earth. 

#3: The Dying Planet – WASP-12b

Despite being around the size of Jupiter, this exoplanet is constantly nearing its star. Eventually, the gravity of its star will pull this planet into the star. Currently, this planet is 870.8 light-years away from Earth.

#4: A Large Planet – TrES-4

This planet is over 70% of the size of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. What makes this planet unique, however, is that it has only %75 of the mass of Jupiter, giving it a much lower density. It is 1562.3 light-years away from Earth.

#5: An Old Planet – Methuselah

Estimations predict Methuselah is about 13 billion years old. Scientists believe that at that point in time (13 billion years ago), the materials to form planets were not actually able to form planets. This exoplanet is about 12,400 light-years away from Earth.

These are just a few of the many amazing exoplanets in our universe, with many more still waiting to be discovered.

-Peri A.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery is an average, but intelligent, girl from Connecticut. Her mother died, and her father couldn’t care less about her, but her half-sister Libby (same father, different mother) cares deeply about Avery. One day, however, Avery receives an invitation to the reading of the will of the late Tobias Hawthorne, who she discovers has a net worth of 46 billion dollars. She is both surprised and confused when she receives the majority of Tobias Hawthorne’s vast fortune, despite never having known him, or even heard of him and his family, until now. However, it is revealed that Tobias Hawthorne left a puzzle behind for them to solve. Meanwhile, there are still some people who are upset about Avery’s newfound inheritance and seek to get rid of her in any way possible. She now has no idea who is really on her side and who seeks to get rid of her. Avery is now not only facing a difficult puzzle with vague clues, but she must also now watch out for any attempts others may take to harm her. 

I liked this book because of the constant suspense and the unexpected events. This was a very unpredictable book, and there were multiple riddles presented by the clues. I enjoyed attempting to solve those puzzles and following along as the characters figured out what everything meant.

The Inheritance Games is part of a series consisting of 2 books, with the third book being released later this year. They all follow the same storyline, of the aftermath of Avery receiving the unexpected and large inheritance.

-Peri A.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember is a dystopian novel. Although it takes place in the future, the mysterious Builders of the city from a couple of hundred years ago have greatly restricted their technology. Instead of phones, they have Messengers who run from place to place delivering messages. They have no movable lights or cars; the only light in the entire city comes from the many lamps lining the streets and in their homes, and they can only walk or run to places. 

When creating the City, the Builders knew the people would eventually need to emerge from their new home – after 200 years, to be exact. They created the Instructions and locked it into a box with a timed lock, to be passed down from mayor to mayor, set to open when those 200 years had passed. Yet, when the seventh mayor became sick and desperate for a cure, he brought the secret box, which no one but the mayor knew about, to his own home. Unsuccessful in opening it, and passing away soon afterward, he became the last to know of its existence. 

The story then skips to around the year 240 (in years of Ember), where the lights have now begun to flicker and sometimes temporarily go out, and their food, supplies, and resources are beginning to quickly run out. 12-year-old Lina re-discovers the now-open box. However, since her little sister Poppy ate some of the paper message contained inside, she struggles to make sense of it. She and Doon, her former friend and former classmate, set to work attempting to decipher it and save Ember from the imminent permanent darkness.

I usually don’t like dystopian stories, but The City of Ember was actually an enjoyable book that contained logical puzzles throughout.

-Peri A.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Exoplanets and the Transit Method

Have you ever wondered about exoplanets? Exoplanets are the planets outside of our solar system.

There are multiple methods used by astronomers to discover exoplanets. One of them is called the Transit Method. As planets orbit their stars in a mostly circular way, exoplanets will always pass in front of their own star (at least, to our own perspective). During a planet’s transit around its star, its effects will be somewhat similar to an eclipse. The amount of light given off by the star that is visible from Earth will decrease until the planet completes its transit. Using the data like the drop in the star’s brightness and how long the transit was, astronomers are able to make various calculations. Not only are they informed of the exoplanet’s existence, but they also discover the exoplanet’s distance to its star or how long its orbit takes. More than 3000 exoplanets have been discovered using the Transit Method to this date. 

Still, though, there will always be mistakes in using this method as well as any other methods. There may be unseen details or simply missed periods of light differences by astronomers’ telescopes and graphs. There may always be unobservable celestial objects in our universe that may remain undiscovered. All we can do is try to discover as much of it as we possibly can.

I think it is very important that we discover more about this infinitely large universe we live in before other galactic clusters move out of our observable universe. This will eventually happen, as the universe is constantly expanding at an accelerating rate, moving an increasing amount of celestial objects out of our observable universe every moment.

-Peri A.

Planet 9

Many people know of the planets in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, our own planet Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are also dwarf planets, such as Pluto, Ceres, and Eris. However, there is one planet that is still hypothetical and completely based on mathematics and theory. Planet 9 is a possible 9th planet in our solar system. Hypothetically, it would be located far beyond Neptune, the reason it is currently an unconfirmed planet. If it were existent, however, Planet 9’s orbit around our Sun could take as much as 10,000 to 20,000 years, in comparison to Neptune’s 165-year orbit. However, it is important to remember that these estimates are all based purely on mathematics and theory, and nothing is currently confirmed. The theoretical planet is believed to orbit the Sun more than 10 times further from the Sun than Neptune, which orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.8 billion miles.

Far outside our main solar system, there is a strange gravitational effect on some relatively small celestial objects (like asteroids). The way they orbit the Sun suggests to some scientists that there is yet another large planet orbiting our Sun far beyond Neptune and Pluto. Still, some scientists also say that our perception of the orbits of those objects is simply caused by human error in calculating and ‘viewing’ their orbits. Until enough evidence is discovered, or the planet itself is spotted through telescopes or various other methods, we can’t really claim that it either exists or doesn’t exist. There may be some other explanation for this phenomenon, or perhaps there really is an undiscovered planet somewhere out in the furthest reaches of our solar system.

-Peri A.

Film Review: Marvel Studios’ Eternals

This review may contain spoilers.

Eternals reveals more about the structure of the MCU itself. This movie spans many years, and constantly has flashbacks to reveal more about the immortal Eternals. These beings have lived on Earth for thousands of years and have been present in so many different points in history. They have even seen ancient Rome! After an earthquake, Deviants start emerging again and attacking the Eternals. Ikaris joins Sersi and Sprite as they go to find their leader, Ajak. However, they arrive at her isolated home to find her killed by a Deviant. Sersi is made the leader by Ajak’s final wish. They soon begin to gather the rest of the Eternals so as to be able to fight the Deviants (only to find they have evolved over thousands of years). 

I felt that this movie offers a new perspective on some of the larger events of the MCU. Some viewpoints I hadn’t considered before and facts I hadn’t known were presented in this movie. In addition, I liked the diversity of characters, all of which had very different personalities and powers. There were numerous unexpected plot twists which I felt helped reveal or imply things before the truth came out. Although I generally enjoyed the movie, I felt like it was a little inconsistent with the way it randomly changed time periods. 

I do think that this movie is very important to our understanding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it reveals a lot of insight about the origins of the MCU and other details of the MCU which had earlier remained mostly unseen. 

-Peri A.

The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

Ruth and her husband Derek Kettering have some problems. Van Aldin, Ruth’s father, suggests to her to divorce Derek. She agrees, but once she is on the Blue Train, she gets nervous that she may not have told her father everything she should have. Katherine Grey compassionately listens to Ruth and gives her sensible advice. However, the next day, as the Blue Train finishes its journey, Ruth is found strangled in her compartment, and also disfigured by being hit by something very hard after her death. Since Katherine was one of the only people to have interacted at all with Ruth, she is naturally now a part of solving the case.

Everything gets even more complicated when Van Aldin states that Derek would benefit from Ruth’s death by millions of pounds. Soon, they also find a letter from Ruth’s former lover, the Comte de la Roche, asking for her to allow him to see her rubies for his book on jewels. With two suspects already at the beginning of the investigation, who were both spotted on the train, and with Ruth’s largest rubies missing, the case is more confusing than ever.

Then, Hercule Poirot helps to investigate the case. With his keen observations, he is able to piece together an accurate summary of the scene and murder. 

I really liked this book because it was so mysterious and the ending was unexpected. There were a variety of characters included in the story, and all of them had different strengths and weaknesses, which also made the story more enjoyable.

-Peri A.

The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

OCDaniel by Wesley King

Daniel has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but he doesn’t know that. He just thinks he is crazy. He avoids writing certain numbers, and he has a ‘Routine’ which takes him hours to do, just before bed. His “Zaps”, as he calls them, are sudden feelings of problems that need to be solved immediately. Most of all, he hides that he gets Zaps from everyone he knows. He gets Zaps from writing certain numbers, or sometimes not flicking a light switch enough times. Also, he hates football – which his dad makes him play. He plays as the backup punter (so he is basically just the water boy) and spends most of his time during games arranging the water cups strategically. However, he is surrounded by people who love football, from his best friend to his older brother and he feels like he has to continue playing.

One day, he receives a message from someone who calls themself  “Star Child”. As he gets further into this mystery, he finds himself now scared for much more important things than the feelings he gets for Zaps.

I like this book because I think that a lot of people can relate to the feeling of having to do something right or otherwise terrible things will happen. About 2.2 million adults (which is about 1% of the total U.S. population) have OCD. 

I think OCDaniel, Daniel’s story, gives the reader little insight into the life of someone with OCD and helps us understand what they are going through.

-Peri A.

OCDaniel by Wesley King is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

TV Review: Hawkeye

I always felt like Hawkeye was one of the more overlooked characters in the MCU. However, this series reveals a lot more about how the events of Avengers: Endgame affected Hawkeye. I enjoyed watching this series because it had a lot of action and was generally really intriguing. I wasn’t expecting a lot of the events which took place in the series.

It starts with Kate Bishop secretly following her mother’s fiance, Jack Duquesne (her father died in the 2012 New York attack led by Loki) to a black-market auction. The auction includes items from Hawkeye’s former identity as the Ronin. As the event is soon attacked, Jack takes Ronin’s sword and Kate grabs the Ronin suit. She claims to the attackers that she is the real Ronin. After seeing the headlines concerning the Ronin, Hawkeye finds Kate and they eventually end up trying to clear the name of the Ronin.

However, during his time as Ronin, Clint Barton (Hawkeye) made a lot of enemies. One of those enemies, the daughter of a man he killed, is looking for revenge, and she won’t stop until she gets it. Additionally, Yelena is also on a mission to get revenge on Clint for “killing” her sister Natasha (Black Widow). Like the majority of people, she doesn’t know what actually happened on Vormir. Suddenly, for Hawkeye, a simple holiday vacation with his family turns into a dangerous mission.

This series was really enjoyable, and I am looking forward to the next installment of the MCU. If you are a Marvel fan or someone who likes action movies or series, you will not want to miss this series.

-Peri A.

Marvel’s Avengers: The Game

This high-quality video game features 4 different story modes and 1 online game mode. The newest of these 4 story modes is the Black Panther and Wakanda expansion. Many of the original Avengers are found in this game, including Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Captain America, and the newest playable character, Black Panther. Each character has 3 abilities, which act like power-ups for a short time before they need to recharge.

The first story primarily follows Kamala Khan, also known in the Marvel Universe as Ms. Marvel. It starts off at a celebration of the Avengers, but things quickly go awry as they get attacked and Captain America dies. Kamala gains Inhuman powers in a world that fears Inhumans and does not like the Avengers anymore. One day, amidst AIM’s (Advanced Idea Mechanics) announcements that they are doing everything they can to take care of Inhumans, Kamala is taken into the world of the Avengers. 

I really enjoy playing this video game and the stories are very engaging. There are so many missions to complete and the storylines connect with each other really well. It constantly keeps you guessing. I also liked how you are able to play as a lot of different Avengers characters. There are constantly new players, stories, and challenges being added into the game. 

The stunning graphics, the amazing gamemodes and stories, and the variety of characters makes this a very enjoyable video game. I would recommend anyone who enjoys Marvel or adventures to play Marvel Avengers. 

I would rate this game a 10/10.

-Peri A.

Marvel’s Avengers: The Game is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Library.