ST: The Original Series Set Tour to Open

If you ever wanted to experience what it would be like to visit the set of Star Trek: The Original Series, now is your chance. Star Trek super-fan James Cawley is honoring the 50th anniversary of the iconic franchise with the opening of his meticulously designed TOS set tour. Located in historic Ticonderoga, New York, and under license by CBS Consumer Products, the set tour brings memories to life by allowing fans to boldly go and tour the sets of the legendary Starship Enterprise.

– See more at:

Local Sensors Detect

Klingons are issuing challenges to appear in costume, looks like fun!

Opens Friday, the 22nd of July

From Montreal Gazette

  • CHRIS LACKNER For Postmedia News

Franchise returns to the big screen this week with action director at helm

Here’s what’s on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.

Scotty (Simon Pegg), left, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and Kirk (Chris Pine) really do go where no one has gone before in Star Trek Beyond.


MOVIES Big release on July 22: Star Trek Beyond

Big picture: After two reboot films in which the crew barely made it out of Earth’s orbit, Beyond could easily be a spa day on Pluto. But Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and company finally go “where no man has gone before” in their third cinematic voyage: uncharted space. A few standard Trek plot lines ensue: a rescue mission gone wrong, “millions of lives” at stake, and yet another Enterprise crashing or blowing up.

Instead of a vengeful, superhuman villain named Khan, this film offers a vengeful, super-alien villain named Krall (Idris Elba). As he warns Kirk, “This is where the frontier pushes back.” It’s also where the final frontier gets Fast & Furious. Justin Lin, a man largely famous for directing Vin Diesel and exploding cars, directs this franchise outing. On the plus side, it’s co-written by Simon Pegg (who knew Scotty had the time to be an engineer and a screenwriter!?)

Forecast: My prediction? This film will lead to all-new James Bond casting rumours that Elba will play Bond … in his Krall makeup. Imagine an intergalactic spy with a licence to kill (with William Shatner as the new M)! Meanwhile, Star Trek Beyond will be a fitting tribute to the late actor Anton Yelchin, who returns as Chekov.



Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the sun has dipped ~10 degrees below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS INVADE THE USA: Summer is the season for noctilucent clouds. For sky watchers in the United States, “noctilucent summer” has just begun. On July 14th, a bright bank of electric-blue clouds rippled over the Canadian border into the USA. Greg Johnson of Seattle, Washington, photographed the display over the Puget Sound:

Dustin Guy of Seattle saw them too. “I witnessed the most vibrant NLC display that I’ve seen in a number of years,” he says. “They lit up the water of Lake Washington at 330 AM local time.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form at the edge of space more than 80 km above Earth’s surface, when wisps of summertime water vapor wrap themselves around meteor smoke. The resulting ice crystals glow electric blue in the night sky.

In the 19th century, you had to travel near Arctic latitudes to see these clouds. In recent years, however, they have been sighted as far south as Colorado and Kansas. The spread could be a result of climate change. July is usually the best month for NLCs. Sky watchers in the northern half of the USA should be alert for them for the next two weeks.

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the sun has dipped ~10 degrees below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

Kuiper Belt’s Big, New, Far-Out Object

From Sky and Telescope

First spied last year, an object designated 2015 RR245 turns out to be one of the largest and most distant objects yet found orbiting the Sun.

2015 RR245's discovery images

Three images, taken about 1 hour apart with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on September 9, 2015, reveal the existence of 2015 RR245 (the moving dot at right edge). At the time it was 22nd magnitude and drifting westward in southeastern Pisces.
OSSOS team

Planetary astronomers have been busy of late. The IAU’s Minor Planet Center has tallied 1,491 objects in orbits more distant than Neptune (“transneptunians”) and another 501 in the outer solar system that occupy odd, usually quite elliptical orbits (“Centaurs” and “scattered-disk objects”). On average, one more gets added to the list about every 5 days.

But a distant discovery announced two days ago has created heightened interest among Kuiper Belt cognoscenti. Designated 2015 RR245, it’s some 64 astronomical units (9½ billion km) from the Sun, more than twice Neptune’s distance. And despite appearing just 22nd magnitude, it could be as large as 700 km (450 miles) across.

Dwarf Planet or Not?

Orbit of 2015 RR245

Observers calculate that Kuiper Belt object 2015 RR245 has an elliptical path that takes 733 years to go around the Sun and carries it from near Neptune’s orbit out to 129 astronomical units.
Alex Parker / OSSOS team


Astronomers snap a picture of a head-scratching planet in a triple-star system

From Astronomy Magazine
HD 131399Ab is relatively young and farther from its parent star than any confirmed planet in our solar system.
The image of the HD 131399 system, with primary star A toward the top, the planet in the middle, and stars B and C in the lower right. The images were taken by the SPHERE instrument at ESO’s Very Large Telescope. ESO/K. Wagner et al.

There are plenty of weird planets in the Milky Way, but HD 131399Ab may be one of the weirdest.

Discovered in a survey of 100 young stars, the 16 million-year-old planet still glows hot enough for astronomers to image it directly. Somehow in those short few million years, it migrated out 80 astronomical units (AU; one AU is the average Earth-Sun distance) from its parent star.

But also accompanying the parent star, which is a little bit bigger than the Sun, are two companion stars in orbit around each other at a distance of 300 to 400 AU.

“In this case, this planet is much closer to the other stars in the system than any known exoplanets in a multi-star system,” says Kevin Robert Wagner, a graduate student at the University of Arizona and lead author of the discovery paper, published today in Science.


Field Trip!

August 6th, early in the morning, MonSFFA is headed for strange new worlds! In Ottawa…

Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience

The Starfleet Academy Experience provides cadet recruits with an opportunity to experience a “career day” at the Academy. In an immersive environment, recruits try out a number of activities to test their potential to train for careers as Medical Officers, Science Officers, Communications specialists, even Commanders. The experience is enriched with the actual science behind the science fiction as the participants learn about emerging technologies such as a functional tricorder, NASA’s warp drive theory, and the latest experiments with phasers and teleporters.

Unfortunately, the transporters are not yet fully functional, so car pools are being arranged.  Cars will be leaving from Fairview Shopping Mall and the Espresso Hotel. If you need a lift, contact  or  Please be patient, neither of us will be able to check email daily.

Departure time is 8:00 sharp, the idea is to be scheduled for the same time to the exhibit.

new Star Trek series in Canada

The Bell Media rollout for the new Star Trek series in Canada will mirror the launch in the United States. The first episode will premiere on Canada’s most-watched broadcast network, CTV, on the same night as CBS. All remaining episodes will initially be televised on Bell Media’s cable networks, Space (in English) and Z (in French), and then later exclusively on CraveTV, Bell Media’s streaming video-on-demand service. The Star Trek television library will return to Space (in English) and debut on Cinépop (in French), and will also be found among CraveTV’s leading lineup of premium television series. – See more at:

Sunspots and Aurora Watch

From Space

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth late on July 19th, and this could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms around the poles. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras, especially in the southern hemisphere where dark winter skies favour visibility of faint lights. [aurora gallery]

BIG SUNSPOTS: Solar activity has been low for months. This could soon change. Two big sunspot groups are directly facing Earth, and one of them has an unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Bill Hrudey photographed the active regions on July 16th from Cayman islands:

“Sunspots AR2567 & AR2565 are great imaging targets surrounded by many granules,” says Hrudey.

What are granules? The sun is so hot, it literally boils. Granules are bumps on the boiling surface, much like the bumpy surface of water boiling on a hot stove. One difference: While the granules on your stove are only a few centimeters across, granules on the sun are as wide as Texas.

As if granules weren’t big enough, the primary dark cores of these sunspots are twice as wide as the entire Earth. Great targets indeed. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.


Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association