February 2016, The Hunt For Planet Nine, Hard Drives VS Solid State Drives

The Hunt For Planet Nine

For a planet that hasn’t technically been discovered yet, “Planet Nine” sure is getting a lot of attention. Astronomers may not have laid eyes on it yet, but evidence so far suggests that folks who have believed for years that an undiscovered large planet is orbiting the sun way out there may have been right all along. To be clear, we’re not talking about another dwarf planet like Pluto. You may remember Pluto being demoted to the status of dwarf planet in 2006 after several other tiny planets like it were discovered way out there in the Kuiper belt, the ring of frozen fossils orbiting in the dark beyond Neptune. It was the observation of some of these Kuiper belt objects that lead to the realization that a large planet may in fact actually be out there. Caltech planetary scientists Konsantin Batygin and Mike Brown saw the clues and have been watching closely for the past two years. They report that at least six icy objects travel on orbits that are aligned with one another. Gravity from the known planets should have twisted their orbits by now, so it seems something large out there is keeping them in place. Computer simulations suggest that it could be a planet up to ten times the mass of Earth and it doesn’t come any closer to the Sun during its orbit than two hundred times the distance from the Earth to the Sun, taking ten to twenty thousand years to orbit the Sun just once. The long axis of the orbit of those six objects point in roughly the same direction and they orbit in roughly the same plane. It’s like they are being herded together. Batygin and Brown report that the probability that these alignments occurred by chance is just 0.007 percent- so the hunt for Planet Nine is on.

The evidence is there, but it will be difficult to spot against the dense background of Milky Way stars. This is not the first time scientists are using the behavior of known objects to try and locate an unknown one. Mathematicians Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams calculated that something large was causing Uranus so speed up and slow down as it orbited the Sun. Their work lead to astronomer Johan Galle discovering Neptune in 1846. A big planet out there would explain someodd behavior in the outer solar system. Some of the dwarf planets that have been discovered are in very unexpected far flung positions and orbits. Planet Nine could have put them there. It also could have contributed to sending some of the icy comets out there toward the inner solar system. In fact, Planet Nine probably originated in the inner solar system and got tossed to the outer reaches after a long gravitational dance with the gas giants. I wonder if more lost planets are out there. The so-called Planet Nine will of course get a different name when they find it. What would you name it?


Back That Thing Up!

Everything You Need To Know About Hard Drives, Solid State Drives and Backup Plans

 

Backing up your hard drive is important. Just like going to the dentist or getting your tires rotated, it is necessary to do but might not be at the top of your list. We see rusty, corroded hard drives a lot, especially during the rainy season. Hard drives are not meant to last forever. In fact, one in five hard drives will fail by the time they are four years old. Why Do Hard Drives Fail? The various moving parts can only rotate, gyrate and actuate so many times before something wears out and breaks. If your hard drive fails, you could lose everything on it; your work, artistic creations, family photos, your old band recordings, everything.  Don’t let it happen to you. Back up your hard drive now and set your mind at ease.  Not sure where to begin? No worries! We want to help you, and we have three new backup plans for you to choose from.  Each plan comes with a drive for you to keep with your backup on it. The larger the drive, the more we can back up for you. In case of hard drive failure on your computer, your files will be safe on your backup drive!

If you are in need of a new hard drive, we have them in stock too. Most computers come with a regular spinning hard drive (HDD). We recommend upgrading to a newer solid state drive (SSD). Solid state drives do the same thing as a spinning hard drive, but with no moving parts. SSD's are much faster and less likely to sustain any damage if you drop or jostle your computer. In fact, they will run just fine if your laptop is getting bounced around on a train or airplane for instance. This newer technology is more expensive than the older, more established hard drives. For the same amount of storage as a hard drive, a solid state can cost up to double. If that is above your budget a clever solution to this is to buy a  SSD with less space on it and ustilize modern cloud storage for most of your data like photos, music, movies, etc. An old computer will feel like a brand new one after upgrading from a hard drive to a solid state drive. It will boot up in seconds rather than minutes and everything on it will be safer because SSD’s are far less likely to crash (you should still back everything up just in case). Everything will be how you remember it, there are no changes to your software or files.

Call to talk to a technician about upgrading your hard drive.- Keith Fox