APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by APOD Robot » Sat May 14, 2011 4:06 am

Image The Little Dipper

Explanation: At 2nd magnitude, Polaris is far from the brightest star in the night sky. But it is the brightest star at the left of this well-composed, starry mosaic spanning about 23 degrees across the northern sky asterism dubbed the Little Dipper. Polaris is famous as the North Pole Star, a friend to navigators and astrophotographers alike, but it's not located exactly at the North Celestial Pole (NCP) either. It's presently offset from the NCP by 0.7 degrees. Sliding your cursor over the picture will locate Polaris and the NCP as well as other stars of the Little Dipper. The stars are shown with their proper names preceded by their greek alphabet designations within the ancient constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. Dust clouds suspended above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy are also faintly visible throughout the wide field of view.

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Ann » Sat May 14, 2011 4:29 am

That's another splendid image by Rogelio Bernal Andreo! It's a beautiful dipper indeed! :D

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by neufer » Sat May 14, 2011 4:43 am

----------------------------------------------------------------------
    • . Jules Verne: _Journey to the centre of the earth_
    Presently, after lying quietly for some minutes, I opened my eyes and looked upwards. As I did so I made out a brilliant little dot, at the extremity of this long, gigantic telescope. It was a star without SCINTILLATING rays. According to my calculation, it must be. Beta in the constellation of the Little Bear.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
    • . James Joyce: _Ulysses_
    Meditations of evolution increasingly vaster: of the moon invisible in incipent lunation, approaching perigee: of the infinite lattiginous SCINTILLATING uncondensed milky way, discernible by daylight by an observer placed at the lower end of a cylindrical vertical shaft 5000 ft deep sunk from the surface towards the centre of the earth: of Sirius (alpha in Canis Major) 10 lightyears (57,000,000,000,000 miles) distant and in volume 900 times the dimension of our planet:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
http://users.iafrica.com/m/mi/mikeyb/Orion_Fairall.html wrote: <<Khufu's pyramid contains four 'star shafts', aimed towards
. the meridian in the sky. When the pyramid was built
. (c. 2700 BC), these shafts aimed at the transit points of:
.
  • . Thuban (Alpha Draconis - then pole star),
    . Orion's Belt,
    . Sirius and
    . KOCHAB (Beta Ursa Minoris - pole star in 1100 B.C.)
clearly intentionally and not coincidentally. The shafts apparently
served to direct the ka, or spirit, of the dead pharaoh towards these
key stars. Thuban and Kochab were circumpolar "Imperishable ones"
(stars that never die), Orion represented the deity Osiris, and
Sirius his consort, Isis. Precession has since changed the transit
points, so the shafts no longer function in this manner.>>
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~kaler/sow/kochab.html wrote: <<KOCHAB (Beta Ursa Minoris - pole star in 1100 B.C.), an obscure Arabic name that might simply mean "star," is just barely the second brightest, and appropriately the Beta, star in Ursa Minor, and represents the top front bowl star of the Little Dipper. Only 15 degrees from the north celestial pole, middle northerners can see it every night as it plies its small circular path. Together with the other bowl star (Pherkad, the Gamma star), it makes a small asterism called the "Guardians of the Pole," the two seeming in myth to "protect" the pole star. Though we are quite familiar with the major two motions of the Earth, daily rotation and annual revolution, the third motion, precession, is more obscure. The Moon and Sun act on the Earth's rotational bulge, and cause the axis to wobble over a 26,000 year period. The result is that the axis continually moves in a small circle against the background stars. Polaris is thus only a temporary pole star that will get better into the next century and then will begin to shift away. About the year 1100 BC, the pole made a reasonably close pass to Kochab, and there are old references to THIS star being called "Polaris.">>
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Ann » Sat May 14, 2011 5:13 am

Hans't Vega been the Pole star once upon a time?

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by WrshpMzshn » Sat May 14, 2011 6:41 am

Is that a meteor near the top left corner?

Czerno 1

Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Czerno 1 » Sat May 14, 2011 8:29 am

Nice and warm feeling, we won't lose our North so long as the Polar shines for us...

Strangely, the commentary and annotated photo both miss the Polar's name, which is Alruccabah IIRC.
Polaris is a label, not a proper name.

Thanks again for the quotidian astro pic !

--
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Amir » Sat May 14, 2011 9:52 am

Stunning Picture! Good Job.
I'm wondering if such details could be captured with a DSLR.
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by neufer » Sat May 14, 2011 11:11 am

Ann wrote:
Hasn't Vega been the Pole star once upon a time?
Yes... ~13,000 years ago.

The "Pole star" is simply the closest bright star.

Only Thuban comes really close to the precessional circumference.
Art Neuendorffer

b

Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by b » Sat May 14, 2011 11:16 am

there is a faint streak of white light appearing at the upper right or left of image which is barely visible in hires. what could that be? meteor? space junk? iss? a satellite? an asteroid ??

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by biddie67 » Sat May 14, 2011 11:31 am

(With reference to the little picture of Khufu's pyramid above with the four 'star shafts')

I would have thought that the Egyptians, with the amount of precision and interest in the position of the stars that they had and the, perhaps, couple of centuries that they might have been observing them, that they would have known about the precession of the pole and and the apparent long-term movements of stars in general.

It seems interesting that they literally "bound in stone" a path to a star that was valid for such a relatively brief period of time. It almost seems that the massive building project was for a one-time passage guide for the entombed pharoah's soul. Not a multi-use guide for a soul's coming and going over much longer periods of time.

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Devil Particle » Sat May 14, 2011 11:43 am

I really like this APOD. Thanks.

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by mexhunter » Sat May 14, 2011 11:58 am

Congratulations to Rogelio for this fantastic photograph, which shows again his refined technique.
Many greetings
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Boomer12k » Sat May 14, 2011 12:57 pm

Great Picture!
I wonder if the dust clouds are still forming stars, but we don't see any emission or reflection because the stars are still inside them? Or, are they finished and not dense enough to collapse under their own gravity any longer?

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Sphincter, n. [NL., fr. to bind tight.]

Post by neufer » Sat May 14, 2011 1:34 pm

biddie67 wrote:(With reference to the little picture of Khufu's pyramid above with the four 'star shafts')

I would have thought that the Egyptians, with the amount of precision and interest in the position of the stars that they had and the, perhaps, couple of centuries that they might have been observing them, that they would have known about the precession of the pole and and the apparent long-term movements of stars in general.

It seems interesting that they literally "bound in stone" a path to a star that was valid for such a relatively brief period of time. It almost seems that the massive building project was for a one-time passage guide for the entombed pharoah's soul. Not a multi-use guide for a soul's coming and going over much longer periods of time.
They "bound in stone" paths to two stars:
  • 1) the current polar star: Thuban and
    2) the future polar star: Kochab.
http://www.revealer.com/review.htm wrote:
Secrets of the Sphinx©
Mysteries of the Ages Revealed
by Andrew Tomasi Raymond

Review

<<Secrets of the Sphinx by Andrew Raymond is an amazing act of syntheses and one of the more informative books to be published in recent times. By reading this review and other pages linked from this site, you will discover that our scientists divide the 25,800-year cycle of our Earth into twelve ages instead of twelve months, and that the Great Sphinx in Egypt marks the "Happy New Year" of this cycle. The 25,800-year cycle of our planet with its four seasons is called the Great Year, the Platonic year (Plato's year), or the precession of the equinoxes in a comprehensive dictionary.
Image
Our Current Position in the Great Year
(Cross takes 25,800 years to make one turn)
The four seasons of the great year are marked by Egypt’s four minor sphinxes, Ezekiel's four heads of the beast, Revelation’s four cherubim, and astronomy’s Taurus, Leo, Aquarius, and Scorpio (Abraham's Eagle) constellations.

Our astrological birth signs no longer coincide with the sun's location in the constellations of the Zodiac because of precession. Even the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are now the Tropic of Taurus and the Tropic of Scorpio when we observe the sun on the solstices? Our astrologers and map makers neglected to update our present position in the cosmos for over 2,000 years. We are not the astrological birth signs the newspapers and a majority of the astrologers proclaim we are!

The North star (pole star) also changes with the precession of the equinoxes. The North star was Thuban (Alpha Draconis) when the Great Pyramid was constructed to align with true North. The descending passage of the Great Pyramid points to Thuban, the most accurately aligned pole star of all the North stars in the 25,800-year cycle of our Earth.

Comprehend that the word sphinx means to bind or close a circle tightly, and that the Great Sphinx binds Virgo and Leo in the Zodiac on the ceiling of the Portico — at Esna's Khnum Temple. The Great Sphinx marks the "Happy New Year" of our present Platonic year, and Leo was the first age in this great year. Listen when the Vatican informs us every Christmas Eve, when it reads the ancient Calens (calendar) from Rome, that it was the sixth age or the Piscean Age when Jesus, the fisherman, was born 2,000 years ago. Even the ancient Persians called Polaris the "turning point star" 5,000 years before it became our current pole star between the sixth and seventh ages.

When Moses threw out the golden calf, he knew it was the end of the Taurus Age or the fourth age in our present great year. He instructed his followers to get rid of the bull, put lambs' blood on the doors, and place Rams' horns in the temples. By looking at the Master Calendar, the Mazzaroth, or the Zodiac in the heavens, anyone could see that it was the dawning of the Age of Aries the ram or lamb. It was the start of the fifth age in our current great year.

It was the third age, or the Age of Gemini 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, when some people on the Earth believe Adam and Eve lived. Gemini is also known as the twins or Adam and Eve in the ancient Zodiacs.

At one time in history, the Vernal Equinox used to indicate New Year's Day in our annual calendar until Julius Caesar moved it to January 1 in 45 BC. The names of our months still reflect March as the first month of the year. In Latin, Septem is seven, Octo is eight, Novem is nine, and Decem is ten. This is why the name of an age is determined by where the sun is on the Vernal Equinox. The megalithic monuments like Stonehenge, Chichen Itza, and Casa Grande are all trying to find the Vernal Equinox or the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Understand how Nostradamus, Revelation writers, and the Mayans could have used this 25,800-year cycle of our planet to predict what can be expected as we dawn the age of Aquarius. The ancients refer to the coupled-ages of Pisces and Aquarius in the great year as the time for the FisherMan or Merman to return from the sea. The old legends say that he will teach the people how to heal and govern themselves.

Don't be confused by the misinformed people on the planet. Our scientists inform us that, in the great year, we are beginning the Aquarian Age and leaving the Piscean Age. When someone says, its the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, that is no different then someone saying, it is the beginning of the month of July. Only, ages are around 2,150 years long, while months are made up of approximately 30 days. Many college books inform us that we are commencing a new age in the great year.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 14, 2011 1:51 pm

Czerno 1 wrote:Strangely, the commentary and annotated photo both miss the Polar's name, which is Alruccabah IIRC.
Polaris is a label, not a proper name.
"Polaris" is a proper name. Like many stars, Alpha Ursa Minor has several names, reflecting the different cultures that have observed and made use of it.

In the unlikely event that our civilization (or even species) outlasts Polaris's position as the pole star, I expect we will still be calling it by that name even as some other star takes its place at the pole.
Chris

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by owlice » Sat May 14, 2011 1:59 pm

I love this APOD; the image is gorgeous and I enjoyed the links a lot, too!

I have a question: why are there no diffraction spikes in this image? Were they removed through processing?
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 14, 2011 2:10 pm

owlice wrote:I have a question: why are there no diffraction spikes in this image? Were they removed through processing?
The image was made with a refractor. Diffraction spikes are produced by the supports which carry the central mirror in various reflecting telescope designs. One advantage of using a refracting telescope is that you don't get diffraction spikes (but it comes at the disadvantage of being limited to a small aperture, and therefore longer required exposure times).
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by BMAONE23 » Sat May 14, 2011 2:15 pm

WrshpMzshn wrote:Is that a meteor near the top left corner?
b wrote:there is a faint streak of white light appearing at the upper right or left of image which is barely visible in hires. what could that be? meteor? space junk? iss? a satellite? an asteroid ??
This is likely a chance capture of an older Iridium Communication Satellite
The Satellite network per this image "Iridium satellites follow near-polar orbits at an
altitude of 780 km. The network consists of 66 active
satellites that fly in formation in six orbital planes.
The planes are evenly spaced around the planet,
each with 11 satellites that are equidistant from each
other in the same orbital plane. In 2007, the
company said it received about 400 notices per
week that an object was coming within 5 km of one
of its satellites, but the uncertainty in such
calculations is large
(Illustration: Analytical Graphics, Inc, http://www.agi.com)"

orbits in a near polar orientation which would place their crossing near to Polaris. similar to the streak in the image.
If it were a plane, there would likely be red and green streaks from the wing marker lights

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by owlice » Sat May 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: The image was made with a refractor. Diffraction spikes are produced by the supports which carry the central mirror in various reflecting telescope designs. One advantage of using a refracting telescope is that you don't get diffraction spikes (but it comes at the disadvantage of being limited to a small aperture, and therefore longer required exposure times).
Chris, thanks very much!
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Guest » Sat May 14, 2011 2:37 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Czerno 1 wrote:Strangely, the commentary and annotated photo both miss the Polar's name, which is Alruccabah IIRC.
Polaris is a label, not a proper name.
"Polaris" is a proper name.
So you had a compulsion to take your pen, uh! no, your keyboard, to "correct" my remark ?
"Pedantic" is a label (aka an adjective), Chris is a proper name.

Alruccabah by the way quite simply means the bear.
Like many stars, Alpha Ursa Minor has several names, reflecting the different cultures that have observed and made use of it.
In the unlikely event that our civilization (or even species) outlasts Polaris's position as the pole star, I expect we will still be calling it by that name even as some other star takes its place at the pole.
We ? We ? Who will we be by that time ? Not me and you for sure.

Sorry I'm not in a good mood, and it appears, you neither.

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 14, 2011 3:08 pm

Guest wrote:So you had a compulsion to take your pen, uh! no, your keyboard, to "correct" my remark ?
Well, yes. When a factual error is made, I am often compelled to post a correction or clarification.
Sorry I'm not in a good mood, and it appears, you neither.
I'm in a fine mood today. Sorry you're not!
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Post by neufer » Sat May 14, 2011 4:20 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
In the unlikely event that our civilization (or even species) outlasts Polaris's position as the pole star, I expect we will still be calling it by that name even as some other star takes its place at the pole.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_the_Paranoid_Android wrote:
<<Marvin, the Paranoid Android is a fictional character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. Marvin is the ship's robot aboard the starship Heart of Gold. He was built as a failed prototype of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's GPP (Genuine People Personalities) technology. Marvin is afflicted with severe depression and boredom, in part because he has a "brain the size of a planet" which he is seldom (if ever) given the chance to use. Indeed, the true horror of Marvin's existence is that no task he could be given would occupy even the tiniest fraction of his vast intellect. Marvin claims he is 50,000 times more intelligent than a human, (or 30 billion times more intelligent than a live mattress) though this is, if anything, a vast underestimation. When kidnapped by the bellicose Krikkit robots and tied to the interfaces of their intelligent war computer, Marvin simultaneously manages to plan the entire planet's military strategy, solve "all of the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological and psychological problems of the Universe except his own, three times over," and compose a number of lullabies. He seemed to find this last task the hardest, and only one, "How I Hate the Night", is known. "How I Hate the Night", also known as "Marvin's lullaby", was published in the book Life, the Universe and Everything, where it is described as "a short dolorous ditty of no tone, or indeed tune."
Image
Christopher "Marvin" Peterson
[list] Now the world has gone to bed
Darkness won't engulf my head
I can see by infra-red
How I hate the night

Now I lay me down to sleep
Try to count electric sheep
Sweet dream wishes you can keep
How I hate the night[/list]
Marvin's voice was performed by Stephen Moore on radio and television, while Alan Rickman played this role in the film. David Learner operated his body on television, having previously played and voiced the part for the stage version, and Warwick Davis wore the Marvin costume for the feature film. His clothes from 1981 series also appear in the film, when they are on Vogsphere, trying to release Tricia. He's one of the robots standing on the queue.

He is "probably... the most popular character to appear in the Guide", according to Geoffrey Perkins, producer of the radio series.

According to Douglas Adams, "Marvin came from Andrew Marshall. He's another comedy writer, and he's exactly like that." (Indeed, in an early draft of Hitchhiker's, the robot was called Marshall. It was changed to "Marvin" partly to avoid causing offence, but also because it was pointed out to Adams that on radio the name would sound like "Martial", which would have undesirable connotations.) However, Adams also admitted that Marvin is part of a long line of literary depressives, such as A. A. Milne's Eeyore or Jacques in Shakespeare's As You Like It, and even owes something to Adams's own periods of depression.

Marvin does not actually display signs of paranoia, though Zaphod refers to him as "the Paranoid Android." Nor does he show any signs of mania, though Trillian refers to him as a "maniacally depressed robot." He remains consistently morose throughout. In fact he exhibits remarkable stoicism, being willing to wait millions of years for his employers.

According to his autobiography read in the Secondary Phase of the radio series, Marvin was constructed much against his own wishes by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as a prototype human personality artificial intelligence. In his own words:
  • “I didn't ask to be made: no one consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don't think it even occurred to them that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months... and me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell. My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it's still there...” —Douglas Adams, from Fit the Twelfth (radio series)
As the menial labourer on the Heart of Gold spaceship, he grew immensely resentful of the insistence of his new masters (Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian; later also Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent) that he open doors, check airlocks and pick up pieces of paper. He reserved a particular contempt for the sentient doors, despising their blissful satisfaction with existence.

When the Heart of Gold crew arrive on the ancient planet of Magrathea, they abandon Marvin on the surface. During an apparently suicidal confrontation with a pair of trigger-happy cops, the crew are teleported directly from Magrathea into the future to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe to find that, in fact, they haven't traveled an inch. The Restaurant was constructed on the ruins of the planet they had just left, and, while there, they find Marvin, who had been waiting patiently for their return for 576,000,003,579 years (he counted them).

According to Marvin, "The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline." Apparently, the best conversation he'd had was over 40 million years ago, and that was with a coffee machine.

Deciding they had better leave, the crew make a desperate and futile attempt to engage Marvin's enthusiasm (he "hasn't got one") before he simply does what they really want and opens the door to the ship they want to steal. The ship turns out to be a Haggunenon battle cruiser, and the entire group, including Marvin, but excluding Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent, who escape, are eaten by its crew. Marvin's subsequent survival is never explained, but against all probability, he eventually finds himself on Ursa Minor Beta, just in time to rescue Zaphod from a robotic tank.

A subsequent section of Marvin's biography occurs only in the Secondary Phase of the radio series. Marvin rejoins the crew on the Heart of Gold, using the improbability drive programmed by Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth, takes them to the ravaged planet Brontitall. Having landed in a giant floating marble copy of a plastic cup, the crew accidentally find themselves falling several miles through the air. The carbon-based members of the crew manage to stay alive by grabbing onto passing giant birds. Marvin has no such luck, and, upon impact with the ground, creates his own archaeological excavation site. Cruelly intact, he grudgingly saves the crew multiple times from the Foot Soldiers of the Dolmansaxlil Shoe Corporation. Marvin remains in Heart of Gold whilst Ford, Zaphod, Zarniwoop and Arthur bother the Ruler of the Universe, leaving when an enraged Arthur hijacks the ship.

However, in the Tertiary Phase, Trillian claims this story is Zaphod's hallucination, especially as reverse temporal engineering explanation has not entered the plot yet. However of the stories of Zaphod's visit to the Frogstar, the Guide says "10% are 95% true, 14% are 65% true, 35% are only 5% true and the rest are told by Zaphod Beeblebrox", and listeners are presented with one "version" of that visit.

In the television series, the black ship stolen at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe is actually the stunt ship of the Disaster Area rock band, and, having taken them back in time two million years before the present, is set on an irreversible course to collide with the sun of Kakrafoon. Forced to flee in the ship's barely functional teleport, the crew politely ask Marvin to stay behind and operate it. He does so, and stoically awaits his fate "almost as good as death" in the heart of the blazing sun.

A difference to the radio and TV series occurs in the novels when the Heart of Gold crew arrive on the ancient planet of Magrathea. Marvin inadvertently saves the crew by plugging himself into the onboard computer of a police vehicle, which, when exposed to the true nature of Marvin's view of the universe, commits suicide, taking the two police who were then firing at the ship's crew with it. The crew leave Magrathea on the Heart of Gold, but are teleported summarily to Ursa Minor Beta, where Zaphod's great grandfather, in an apparent fit of vicious humour, forces Marvin to accompany Zaphod on his mission of self-discovery. Marvin subsequently saves Zaphod's life by engaging in a battle of wits with a vicious (yet stupid) automated tank, and then is abandoned on the planet Frogstar B when Zaphod is sent to the Total Perspective Vortex. Eventually the crew arrive at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and the story continues as with the radio and TV series.

In the third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything, we find that Marvin survived his collision with the sun of Kakrafoon, and was sent back in time by the Improbability Field projected by the Heart of Gold to be rescued by a scrap metal merchant on Squornshellous Zeta. The merchant grafted a steel rod to Marvin's now lost leg, and sold him to a Mind Zoo, where excited onlookers would try to make him happy. This made him something of a celebrity on the planet of Squornshellous Zeta, and he was asked to open the brand new bridge that was meant to revitalise the planet's economy. Marvin dutifully plugged himself into the bridge's opening circuit, and, just like the police computer, the bridge committed suicide, taking the entire gathered crowd with it. Marvin was left in the swamp, his false leg having trapped him in the mud, so he spent just over 1.5 million years walking around in a circle, "just to make the point." He planned to keep walking in a circle for another million years before trying it backward. "Just for the variety, you understand."

Suddenly, he is kidnapped by a squad of Krikkit war robots, who are after his leg, a fragment of the key that will reopen their imprisoned world and restart the genocidal Krikkit War. Thinking that Marvin's intelligence will be an asset, they wire his brain into the interfaces of their intelligent war computer. This is a mistake. The once formidable Krikkit robots find themselves overcome with crippling sorrow and depression, and rather than focusing on their mission of extermination, instead sulk in corners doing quadratic equations. It is also due to Marvin's influence that Zaphod and the others' lives are spared by the Krikkit robots. Marvin is rescued by his friends, who bring him back to the Heart of Gold. From here his story is unknown.

Marvin reappears in the second-to-last chapter of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. Arthur and Fenchurch find him on the planet where God's Final Message To His Creation is located. He is barely functional, claiming that, due to time travel he is now "thirty-seven times older than the Universe itself." Every part of his body has been replaced, with the exception of "all the diodes down [his] left side," which have been giving him severe pain for the whole of his existence. Arthur and Fenchurch end up carrying him, enduring the robot's constant abuse, to the God's Final Message viewing station, where they lift him up to see the words of the message: "We apologise for the inconvenience." Astonishingly, Marvin responds "'I think... I feel good about it.'" The lights in his eyes go out and his already-worn circuits completely stop working; Marvin is no more. (In the radio dramatisation, his last words are "Goodbye, Arthur." Marvin's 'death' prompts Arthur to say, "Miserable git!" and then, to his own obvious astonishment, to add, "I'll miss him.")

However, in the 2005 radio adaptation of the fifth and final novel in the series, Mostly Harmless, in which Marvin did not originally appear, he has a cameo at the end of the last episode alive and well. He explains that it turned out he was still covered by his warranty agreement, and is back to parking cars at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Warwick Davis played Marvin in the 2005 film. He is voiced by Alan Rickman. This Marvin's design is a departure from the Marvin of the television series, featuring an over-sized head and stubby limbs. A recreation of the costume from the BBC Television version of the story (all but the head of the original was lost decades ago) has a cameo role in the feature film, appearing in the Vogon office queue with various other life forms.

Stephen Moore released two pop singles—Marvin/Metal Man and Reasons to Be Miserable/Marvin I Love You (double B-side)—in the UK in 1981, though neither reached the top 40. Two of these were re-recorded and remixed to coincide with the 2005 Hitchhiker's movie release, "Reasons To Be Miserable" and "Marvin" now being performed by Stephen Fry.

The song involves Marvin describing his woes ("My moving parts are in a solid state") and frustrations ("You know what really makes me mad? They clean me with a Brillo Pad"), to a synthesiser backing. The intro to the song consists of a simple guitar figure, but with the tape reversed so that the notes play backwards.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Astronymus
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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Astronymus » Sat May 14, 2011 5:27 pm

b wrote:there is a faint streak of white light appearing at the upper right or left of image which is barely visible in hires. what could that be? meteor? space junk? iss? a satellite? an asteroid ??
It's my starship reentering Earth's atmosphere. Sorry for ruining this picture. :?

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by bystander » Sat May 14, 2011 6:10 pm

Czerno 1 wrote:Strangely, the commentary and annotated photo both miss the Polar's name, which is Alruccabah IIRC. Polaris is a label, not a proper name.
Other names for Polaris
Polaris has numerous traditional names: Alruccabah, Cynosura, Dhruv, Phoenice, Tramontana, Angel Stern, Navigatoria, Star of Arcady, Yilduz, Mismar, Gwiazda Polarna, Polyarnaya, Çulpan & Midnight Star. Cynosūra is from the Greek κυνόσουρα "the dog’s tail" and is the source of the English word "cynosure". Yilduz is from the Turkish word for "star", as is Çulpan.
Google searches for Alruccabah, most often take you to links for Polaris. If you want a proper name, call it Alpha Ursa Minor (α UMi or α Ursae Minoris).
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor

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Re: APOD: The Little Dipper (2011 May 14)

Post by Guest » Sat May 14, 2011 6:29 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Guest wrote:So you had a compulsion to take your pen, uh! no, your keyboard, to "correct" my remark ?
Well, yes. When a factual error is made, I am often compelled to post a correction or clarification.
And we appreciate and usually learn loads from your lessons, sincere - more so on your professional domain of competence than linguistics though.

I often make errors (don't you ever ?) - so I have checked my facts just now and indeed it seems the Nothern star's name is Alruccabah. If it is not, then I made a "factual error". Otherwise your intervention about what is - or is not - a proper name was rather devoid of meaning and surely off topic. Hence my reaction, which was not necessary either. I apologise to all contributors and "lurkers" alike.

And Chris, before I shut it up for good, have this analogy : President of the USA is not a "proper name", [/i]Barack Obama is. Yet both "labels" designate the same person (ATM; like the Polar, the President is going to change overtime, only faster...)
Sorry I'm not in a good mood, and it appears, you neither.
I'm in a fine mood today. Sorry you're not!
Thank you. Well, to close this digression : I only wished to give the Polar Bear's name, for whomever it might interest to learn it. No ground for flaming each other. 'Later...