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FX's new dramatic series is about the origins of the crack epidemic in Los Angeles. Executive Producer John Singleton has made a career of telling stories about Los Angeles, this is his personal opus.
Turning to TV now, \"Snowfall\" is a new series that debuts on the FX channel Wednesday. It offers a fictional take on the rise of crack cocaine in Los Angeles. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show sometimes trips over itself while telling the story of an unlikely alliance which devastated urban America.
DEGGANS: The idea that the Contras and the CIA helped fuel the crack epidemic in America was suggested in real life by investigative journalist Gary Webb. He wrote a series of newspaper stories and a book called \"Dark Alliance.\" Critics challenge the work, and Webb committed suicide in 2004, but the notion is a powerful one for a TV series. Still, \"Snowfall\" struggles to capitalize on a strong concept. There are lots of characters packed into three storylines that rarely intersect. And Frankie (ph) veers wildly from smart and gutsy to clueless and overwound, sometimes in the same scene.
Don't worry, cracks in Earth's magnetic field are normal. The magnetic field acts as a shield to protect us from solar storms spat out by the Sun. It was thought they opened and closed relatively quickly but now we know they can stay open for hours.
\"The house deflects most of the storm, but the couch is ruined. Similarly, our magnetic shield takes the brunt of space storms, but some energy slips through its cracks, sometimes enough to cause problems with satellites, radio communication, and power systems.\"
In making this profile, I made sure my creation touched on every major facet of being truly horrible: mean, spoiled, lazy, racist, manipulative, and willfully ignorant, and I threw in a little gold digging just for funzies. I maintain that there is not a human on this planet who would read this profile and think, \"Yes, I'd like to spend any amount of the fleeting time I'm given on my journey around the sun getting to know this person.\" This profile is my magnum opus; it will be engraved on my tombstone. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair:
Located around 310 light-years from the Sun, Canopus is a bright giant of spectral type A9, so it is essentially white when seen with the naked eye. It has a luminosity over 10,000 times the luminosity of the Sun, is eight times as massive, and has expanded to 71 times the Sun's radius. Its enlarged photosphere has an effective temperature of around 7,400 K. Canopus is undergoing core helium burning and is currently in the so-called blue loop phase of its evolution, having already passed through the red-giant branch after exhausting the hydrogen in its core. Canopus is a source of X-rays, which are likely being emitted from its corona.
The prominent appearance of Canopus means it has been the subject of mythological lore among many ancient peoples. Its proper name is generally considered to originate from the mythological Canopus, who was a navigator for Menelaus, king of Sparta. The acronychal rising marked the date of the Ptolemaia festival in Egypt. In ancient India, it was named Agastya after the revered Vedic sage. For Chinese astronomers, it was known as the Old Man of the South Pole.
In 2016, the International Astronomical Union organized a Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) to catalog and standardize proper names for stars. The WGSN's first bulletin of July 2016 included a table of the first two batches of names approved by the WGSN, which included Canopus for this star. Canopus is now included in the IAU Catalog of Star Names.
An occasional name seen in English is Soheil, or the feminine Soheila; in Turkish is Süheyl, or the feminine Süheyla, from the Arabic name for several bright stars, سهيل suhayl, and Canopus was known as Suhel /ˈsuːhɛl/ in medieval times. Alternative spellings include Suhail, Souhail, Suhilon, Suheyl, Sohayl, Suhayil, Shoel, Sohil, Soheil, Sahil, Suhayeel, Sohayil, Sihel, and Sihil. An alternative name was Wazn \"weight\" or Haḍar \"ground\", possibly related to its low position near the horizon. Hence comes its name in the Alfonsine tables, Suhel ponderosus, a Latinization of Al Suhayl al Wazn. Its Greek name was revived during the Renaissance.
In the Southern Hemisphere, Canopus and Sirius are both visible high in the sky simultaneously, and reach a meridian just 21 min apart. Brighter than first magnitude, Canopus can be seen by naked eye in the early twilight. Mostly visible in mid to late summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Canopus culminates at midnight on December 27, and at 9 PM on February 11.
No star closer than Canopus is more luminous than it, and it has been the brightest star in Earth's night sky during three epochs over the past four million years. Other stars appear brighter only during relatively temporary periods, during which they are passing the Solar System much closer than Canopus. About 90,000 years ago, Sirius moved close enough that it became brighter than Canopus, and that will remain so for another 210,000 years. But in 480,000 years, as Sirius moves further away and appears fainter, Canopus will once again be the brightest, and will remain so for a period of about 510,000 years.
The southeastern wall of the Kaaba in Mecca is aligned with the rising point of Canopus, and is also named Janūb. The Bedouin people of the Negev and Sinai knew Canopus as Suhayl, and used it and Polaris as the two principal stars for navigation at night. Because it disappears below the horizon in those regions, it became associated with a changeable nature, as opposed to always-visible Polaris, which was circumpolar and hence 'steadfast'.
The south celestial pole can be approximately located using Canopus and another bright star, Achernar, as the three make an equilateral triangle. Canopus sits on an imaginary line that extends 36 one way to Sirius and 37 to the south celestial pole.
Canopus's brightness and location well off the ecliptic make it useful for space navigation. Many spacecraft carry a special camera known as a \"Canopus Star Tracker\" plus a Sun sensor for attitude determination. Mariner 4 used Canopus for second axis stabilisation (after locking on the Sun) in 1964, the first time a star had been used.
Canopus was little-studied by western scientists before the 20th century. It was given a spectral class of F in 1897, an early use of this extension to Secchi class I, applied to those stars where the hydrogen lines are relatively weak and the calcium K line relatively strong. It was given as a standard star of F0 in the Henry Draper Catalogue, with the spectral type F0 described as having hydrogen lines half the strength of an A0 star and the calcium K line three times as strong as Hδ. American astronomer Jesse Greenstein was interested in stellar spectra and used the newly built Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory to analyze the star's spectrum in detail. In a 1942 paper, he reported that the spectrum is dominated by strong broad hydrogen lines. There are also absorption lines of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur, iron, and many ionised metals. It was studied in the ultraviolet by an early astronomical satellite, Gemini XI in 1966. The UV spectra were considered to be consistent with an F0 supergiant having a temperature of 6,900 K, the accepted parameters for Canopus at the time. New Zealand-based astronomers John Hearnshaw and Krishna Desikachary examined the spectrum in greater detail, publishing their results in 1982.
When luminosity classes were added to the MK spectral classification scheme, Canopus was assigned class Iab indicating an intermediate luminosity supergiant. This was based on the relative strengths of certain spectral lines understood to be sensitive to the luminosity of a star. In the Bright Star Catalogue 5th edition it is given the spectral class F0II, the luminosity class indicating a bright giant. Balmer line profiles and oxygen line strengths indicate the size and luminosity of Canopus.
When the effects of stellar rotation speed on spectral lines are accounted for, the MK spectral class of Canopus is adjusted to A9II. Its spectrum consists mostly of absorption lines on a visible continuum, but some emission has been detected. For example, the calcium K line have weak emission wings on each side of the strong central absorption line, first observed in 1966. The emission line profiles are usually correlated with the luminosity of the star as described by the Wilson-Bappu effect, but in the case of Canopus they indicate a luminosity much lower than that calculated by other methods. More detailed observations have shown that the emission line profiles are variable and may be due to plage areas on the surface of the star. Emission can also be found in other lines such as the h and k lines of ionised magnesium.
Before the launch of the Hipparcos satellite telescope, distance estimates for Canopus varied widely, from 96 light-years to 1200 light-years. The closer distance was derived from parallax measurements of around 33 mas. The larger distance derives from the assumption of a very bright absolute magnitude for Canopus.
Hipparcos established Canopus as being 310 light-years (95 parsecs) from the Solar System; this is based on its 2007 parallax measurement of 10.430.53 mas. At 95 parsecs, the interstellar extinction for Canopus is low at 0.26 magnitudes. Canopus is too bright to be included in the normal observation runs of the Gaia satellite and there is no published Gaia parallax for it.
At present the star is drifting further away from the Sun with a radial velocity of 20 km/s. Some 3.1 million years ago it made the closest approach to the Sun at a distance of about 172 ly (53 pc). Canopus is orbiting the Milky Way with a heliocentric velocity of 24.5 km/s and a low eccentricity of 0.065. 153554b96e