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Consumer telescope to probe exoplanets

Unistellar has unveiled the eVscope, its new consumer telescope, which has been demonstrated to detect transiting exoplanets – planets outside our solar system. This will allow citizen astronomers to begin contributing to one of the most exciting scientific endeavours in astronomy today: the search for worlds around distant suns.

Click below to read more about the telescope.



Unistellar is the start-up behind this user-friendly digital telescope. The eVscope’s light-amplification technology and autonomous field detection make it possible for anyone to observe galaxies, nebulae, and comets in crisp and colourful detail. In partnership with the SETI Institute, the telescope also allows its users to contribute to astronomical discoveries while observing the night sky.

The Unistellar team recently used an eVscope to identify the transit of two Jupiter-size planets in distant constellations: Osiris, known as HD 209458b, a gas giant 160 light-years from our Solar System; and WASP-43b, a “hot Jupiter” 280 light-years away. The Unistellar eVscope detected the small variation in light generated when these exoplanets traveled in front of their stars.

“Detecting transiting exoplanets with a worldwide array of these powerful backyard telescopes will generate invaluable astronomical data,” said Franck Marchis, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute and Unistellar’s Chief Scientific Officer. “With enough data points collected from coordinated observing campaigns using eVscopes, scientists will be able to refine the orbits of those new worlds, probe their surroundings, and detect tiny gravitational influences that indicate of the presence of a smaller nearby exoplanet in the same system.”

A single Unistellar eVscope was sufficient to make this detection. Soon, the company will start delivering more than 2,500 pre-ordered digital telescopes. This will create the world’s largest network of citizen astronomers, each of whom will be able to engage and collaborate with professional, amateur, and novice astronomers. Large worldwide observation campaigns—including institutional exoplanetary projects such as TESS, PLATO, and JWST—will also be part of this network.

“The Unistellar eVscope has demonstrated that it is both a breathtaking deep-sky observing device and a groundbreaking scientific tool,” said Laurent Marfisi, Unistellar’s CEO. “By proving that exoplanet detection is possible with our citizen astronomy network, we are getting closer to our goal of creating a new and unprecedented level of space exploration.”

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Product of the Day

Nokia 1 gets slice of Android 9 Pie

Keeping to its promise of a smartphone experience that keeps getting better, says Nokia phone maker HMD Global, it has announced that Nokia 1 can now upgrade to Android 9 Pie (Go edition).

Click below to read about the upgrade.



Nokia 1 is the final phone in the Nokia smartphone portfolio to receive an upgrade to Android 9 Pie, which means that the entire range now has an option running the latest Android OS from Google.

“For too long consumers have had to accept older OS versions as the norm on entry-level smartphones,” says Shaun Durandt, general manager at HMD South Africa. “We are living our promise to deliver a phone that can keep getting better over time through the latest experiences and always being up-to-date. And with the Nokia 1 upgrade to Google’s latest OS, fans can get up-to-the-minute software experiences and innovations from Google in the most affordable segment.”

Over the past two years, Nokia phones have received over 300 security updates and have successfully upgraded handsets to the latest OS twice as fast as competitors, says HMD. This means that users always potentially receive a “just-out-of-the-box-fresh” feeling throughout the phone’s lifecycle. 

Android 9 Pie (Go edition) comes with a new range of apps from Google designed to run faster while consuming less data. Optimised to be smooth and fast, these include Google Go – a web search app, Google Maps Go, YouTube Go and Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), to send messages, make calls and set alarms by using voice.

With fewer pre-installed and much lighter apps, users are promised get two times more available storage compared to standard Android version. 


The Nokia 1 is available at major retail and network operator stores in red and blue, starting from R799.

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Product of the Day

Oracle removes cloud roadblock

Oracle has announced the availability of the Oracle Autonomous Database Dedicated service, which provides customers with high levels of security, reliability, and control for various classes of database workload.

Click below to read more about the service.



Driven by strong customer demand, including more than 5,000 new Autonomous Database trials in Q2 alone, Oracle has expanded its Autonomous Database capabilities to help meet the needs of enterprise customers who want to move their most mission-critical workloads to the cloud. 

Juan Loaiza, executive vice president, Mission-Critical Database Technologies, Oracle says: “Autonomous Database Dedicated enables customers to easily transform from manually-managed independent databases on-premises to a fully-autonomous and isolated private database cloud within the Oracle Public Cloud. Our Autonomous Database Dedicated service eliminates the concerns enterprise customers previously had about security, isolation, and operational policies when moving to cloud.” 

The Oracle Autonomous Database Dedicated service provides customers with a customizable private database cloud running on dedicated Exadata Infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.  It provides a solid database as a service platform, enabling customers to run databases of almost any size, scale, and criticality.  This architecture delivers a very high degree of workload isolation, helping protect each database from both external threats and malicious internal users. The level of security and performance isolation can be easily tailored to the needs of each database. The Oracle Autonomous Database Dedicated service also features customisable operational policies, giving customers greater control over database provisioning, software updates, and availability.

The Oracle Autonomous Database Dedicated service is the latest offering within Oracle’s Autonomous Database portfolio.  Oracle Autonomous Database builds on 40 years of experience supporting the majority of the world’s most demanding applications.  The first of its kind, Oracle Autonomous Database uses advanced machine learning to provide self-driving, self-repairing, and self-securing capabilities that automate key management and security processes in database systems like patching, tuning and upgrading, while keeping the critical infrastructure constantly running for a modern cloud experience. 

“In e-commerce, today’s greatest challenge is meeting customer demands for order fulfilment. Speed is no longer a luxury – it is a requirement,” said Craig Wilensky, CEO, Jasci.  “With Oracle Autonomous Database, we have seen our performance increase by as much as 75x. Combine that with the elasticity and security offered by Oracle Cloud, and the possibilities are endless. With this database, Jasci is actively reshaping a new status-quo for our industry.”

In the June 2019 report: The Forrester Wave Database-As-A-Service, Q2 2019, Oracle was named a leader and ranked highest in data security criterion and the strategy category.  The report stated, “With an autonomous cloud database, Oracle not only automates general administration tasks, such as provisioning, backup, availability, and patching; it also automates the tuning of queries, indexing of tables, and upgrades.”  The authors also noted, “Enterprise customers like Oracle’s security, performance, automation, and pricing.”

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