Welcome to the Moon!

I was in Ballyclare for the first meeting of the Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society last night giving a talk on the Moon. I don't know about the audience but I had a great time. Thanks to all involved for making me so welcome.

I promised to provide sources for all the wacky stuff I talked about so here's a reading list.

Apollo Archive (Images and much more about the Apollo missions)

Bizony, Piers, The man who ran the Moon: James Webb, JFK and the secret history of project Apollo, Icon, Cambridge, 2006 (Fascinating look at how the Apollo missions were managed.)

Chaikin, Andrew, A man on the moon: the voyages of the Apollo astronauts, Penguin, London, 1994 (Complete, accurate, brilliantly written: the best book on Apollo, if you read one book on this list, make it this one!)

Clarke, A.C, “The men on the Moon” in Report on Planet Three, Pan, London, 1984 (Amusing essay on the naming of lunar features)

Godwin, Robert, Project Apollo: exploring the Moon, Apogee, Burlington, 2006 (Very useful pocket-sized guide to the later Apollo missions)

Godwin, Robert, Apollo 11: first men on the Moon, Apogee, Burlington, 2005 (A pocket-sized guide to Neil and Buzz’s excellent adventure)

Godwin, Robert, The lunar exploration scrapbook, a pictorial history of lunar vehicles, Apogee, Ontario, 2007 (A magnificent guide to the evolution of Apollo hardware including vehicles and devices which never flew.)

Kustenmacher, Werner, The Moon: A guide for first-time visitors, Fommers, New York 1999 (A fun and factual lunar travel guide.)

Light, Michael, Full Moon, Jonathon Cape, London, 1999 (A wonderful coffee table book of beautiful photographs taken on Moon missions.)

Mackenzie, Dana, The Big Splat, Wiley, New Jersey, 2003 (Clear account of theories of lunar origin.)

Pellegrino, Charles R. and Stoff, Joshua, Chariots for Apollo: The making of the lunar module, Antheneum, New York, 1985 (History of the Lunar Module with some facts I’ve never seen anywhere else.)

Riley, Christopher and Dolling, Phil, NASA mission AS-506 Apollo 11 1969 (including Saturn V, CM-107, SM-107, LM-5), Haynes, Yeovil, 2009 (Gimmicky presentation but very solid technical description of the Apollo 11 mission’s hardware.)

Rose, Bill, Secret Projects, military space technology, Midland Publishing, Surrey, 2008 (Not specially about the moon, but has a detailed description of a bizarre 1950’s plan to build a US Army base on the Moon)

Shayler, David J, Apollo 11 moonlanding, Ian Allan Ltd, Surrey, 1989 (A minute by minute account of the historic mission)

Smith, Andrew, Moondust: in search of the men who fell to Earth, Bloomsbury, London, 2005 (Very readable account of the lives of the Apollo crews today.)

"It's quiet... Too quiet."

Imaged with the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, NGC 4666 lies some 80 million light years from Earth. All looks calm and peaceful, however the bright centre of this galaxy is actually the site of clashing, titanic forces.

Stirred by the gravitational pull of other near by galaxies such as NGC 4668 (lower left of image), NGC 4666 is pumping out new generations of stars. Very active star-forming galaxies like this are known as starburst galaxies. Starburst galaxies are exciting, turbulent places. Strong stellar winds from giant new stars in the starburst region combine with the the blasts of supernovae to push a mighty flood of hot gas, a "superwind" from the galaxy thousands of light years into intergalactic space. Alas the superwind is too tenuous to see in visible light, but has been observed in X-rays. There is much, much more to the Universe than meets the eye.

Image Credit: ESO

More staggering stories of super science!

The latest Astronotes is off to the printers. You have a week to prepare yourselves for some super science!

Scientists explore the ultimate secrets of matter! Tracy McConnell reveals the truth in LHC Update.

A force from outer space is sucking our very oceans skyward! Sinead McNicholl tells the frightening story in The Moon and the tides.

A perverse experiment imprisons six men in a metal box for 500 days! Martina Redpath recounts the unbelievable tale in Red Square to Red Planet.

Meddling scientists transplant horse's navel to princess' forehead! Mary Bulman has the shocking details in September Night Sky.

The Universe is bent claims top prof! as reported by Colin Johnston in Still Impossible!

Genuine photo of extraterrestrial visitor! leaked by Tracy McConnell as Image of the Month

Don't say I didn't warn you!

(Image via Wikimedia.org)

Four ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor plain

ESO - alma4anttimelapse2 - Four ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor plain

ALMA is an amazing project, we'll be covering it in detail in Astronotes soon.

Carnival of Space No 168

Good news everyone! There's a new Carnival of Space hosted by the Weird Science blog. Pop over there and join the fun!

(Image Credit: Comedy Central via io9.com )

Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010

A fantastic and thought-provoking animation adding asteroids to the Solar System as they are discovered.

(Thanks to Will Gater for sharing this)

That's no star!

Judging by all the enquiries I am getting this week, many of you are seeing a bright star in the eastern sky. This is not a star, especially not the star of Bethlehem, rather it is the mighty planet Jupiter.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest within the Solar System. It orbits at an average distance of 778 million km from the Sun, about five times as far from the Sun as Earth. As it is so far from us, it takes Jupiter’s light a significant time to reach us –so when you see Jupiter you are seeing it as it was 35-52 minutes in the past. Jupiter is huge, its diameter is over 142 000 km (compared to Earth’s 12 756 km). It is composed of a relatively small rocky core, surrounded by a layer of solid metallic hydrogen (a material which does not exist on Earth), covered by liquid hydrogen. Above this layer is a stormy atmosphere of mainly hydrogen with some helium and very slight traces of other materials. These other traces are enough to colour Jupiter’s turbulent cloud tops in a range of yellow and brown tones. Three times in the past year Jupiter has been hit by asteroid and amateur astronomers have observed the vast explosions.

It is well worth using a pair of binoculars or telescope to view Jupiter, as it can be a magnificent sight. The planet will be clearly visible as a slightly flattened yellowish disc. If your hands are steady enough (or you use a tripod) you will probably also see the streaks of coloured clouds running across the planet.

Jupiter has at least 63 moons. The four largest (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) are collectively called the Gallilean satellites and are easily visible through small telescopes or binoculars as brilliant points of light in a neat line around the planet. If you watch over several nights their movement as they orbit Jupiter will be apparent.

The image above, made with Stellarium software (freely available from our Free Stuff page), shows the sky about 10.30pm BST from Armagh. Jupiter (marked with a cross) is below the Moon.

So there you are, go out tonight and see a planet a thousand times as massive as the Earth!

Animation of the planetary system around Sun-like star HD 10180 (artist’s impression)

ESO - eso1035b - Animation of the planetary system around Sun-like star HD 10180 (artist’s impression)

The title says it all really.

One curious question I have is, now we have almost 500 known exoplanets how come so few science fiction stories are set in these real locations? (Allen Steele's Coyote series is the only example I can think of). Failure of nerve, lack of research or lack of interest?

(Thanks to Robert Hill of NISO for the link to this animation)

The Light Fantastic

Before the modern era of technological astronomy, to know anything about the Universe beyond our planet we relied on light. We had to see planets, stars, and so on, to know they existed. Astronomy was based entirely on light.

What then is light? This is a question which occupied the minds of some of the greatest scientists. Many early ideas have been discarded, now we have a good idea of the nature of light. Historically the two rival ideas were that light was either a stream of tiny bullet-like particles or a wave wobbling its way through space.

The light we see (visible light which is not the tautology it sounds) is only part of the electromagnetic spectrum, a great sweep of radiations which also includes radio, infra-red, ultra-violet, x-rays and gamma rays. This is the celebrated Electromagnetic Spectrum. Unlike sound, all electromagnetic radiation can travel through completely empty space at about 300 000 km/s (186 000 miles per second), the fastest speed possible. Any electromagnetic radiation does indeed travel in the form of waves. The obvious question is “waves in what?” and the least-complicated but rather unsatisfying answer is “in itself”. An electromagnetic (EM) wave is a pair of co-joined electric and magnetic waves oscillating together through space. Hold this image in your mind- I’m going to flatly contradict it in a moment or two.

Every EM wave has a frequency (how often per second it wobbles) and a wavelength (how far it travels between wobbles). These are linked; a high frequency EM wave will have a short wavelength while a low frequency wave will have a long wavelength. For example, the waves carrying the data to your computer in a domestic wireless network may be buzzing away more than two billion times per second (2GHz) and have wavelengths about 15 cm (6 inches) long. (Try multiplying two billion by 15cm, you will get a speed in cm/s; turn it into km/s. Does the answer look familiar?) In contrast, a broadcast radio station may transmit the news and music at 96 MHz (i.e. 96 million oscillations per second) in waves 3m or so long. (Try that multiplication thing again.)

The EM spectrum discriminates radiations by their wavelength or frequencies. Let us take a walk through the spectrum. Radio waves are relatively long wavelength (the Extremely Low Frequency signals used to communicate with submerged submarines are 3000-6000 km long!). Shorter wavelength (say 1m to 1 mm) radio waves are termed microwaves (look at the back of your microwave oven; you ought to find the microwave frequency in MHz somewhere), shorter still waves include the infra-red bands and then in the middle of the spectrum we have the familiar ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) which Isaac Newton showed to make up white light. This is the ‘proper’ light we are all familiar with, most of the Sun’s radiation falls in this comparatively narrow band of wavelengths. Green light (in the centre of the visible band) has a wavelength of about 0.00055mm (about 1/10 the diameter of a red blood cell). Moving beyond violet, we pass into the invisible ultra-violet, as the waves shorten further we enter the realm of X-rays and gamma rays.

By the start of the Twentieth Century it was certain that light was a wave. Many experiments confirmed it. Then some experiments indicated that a beam of light shining on a metal surface could knock electrons out of the metal. This was inexplicable by the wave theory, in fact it suggested strongly that light was actually a stream of tiny particles after all. It was for pointing out this explanation that Einstein was awarded his Nobel Prize rather than his better-known theories of Relativity. The particles were even named photons. So light is either a wave or light is a stream of particles. Which is the right answer? Again the answer, derived from quantum mechanics (a can of worms I have no intention of delving into here) seems an unsatisfying cop-out. Light is both at the same time. Weird though this may seem, something can be a wave and particle at once (although this can only be observed on very small scales). Astronomers are accustomed to this. You will read about, say, a telescope designed to focus gamma ray wavelengths on to a detector which counts the number of photons it picks up.

For most of the last century, astronomy has been scanning the Universe in ever more exotic wavelengths. As a result we have found pulsars, black holes, starforming regions, and Kuiper Belt object and much more. What will we find next?

(This article originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Astronotes. )

Image Credit: NASA

The light and the dark

In, say 1975, there was only one kind of 'stuff' in the Universe, matter made of protons and neutrons. By 1985 there was a consensus that this was not enough, the gravity of the stars in galaxies was not sufficient to hold them together. Something else was there, vast, mysterious and imperceptible, only observable by its effects on its surroundings. Imagine HG Wells 'Invisible Man' moving unseen through a room until he knocks over a vase. There was much more of this dark matter out there than stuff we could experience directly.

By 2005 it was clear that there was more going on out there. Another unseen and unknown something was pushing the galaxies apart. This is dark energy, a force which permeates all space. Astonishingly weak, dark energy can still move galaxies given aeons of time.

No one knows what dark energy and dark matter are; researchers study the light of far off galaxies to see how these elusive quantities effect them. The image shows the galaxy cluster Abell 1689, light from distant galaxies is bent by the gravity from galaxies closer to us but on the same line of sight creating a text-book example of a gravitational lens. This gravity is mainly, we now know, exerted by the dark matter in the galaxies (the blue fuzz in the image is not real, it is a superimposed map of matter distribution). At the same time, however, dark energy is pushing the galaxies apart adding a subtle additional distortion to this ancient light.

Dark matter and dark energy are utter mysteries today but so were electricity, magnetism and radioactive decay once. In some future time we will understand dark energy and matter just as well. Dare I speculate that one day we shall apply them? (I'm holding out for spindizzies myself.)

Image credit: NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM).

Carnival of Space No 167

Sometimes three isn't enough; let's add a Fourth Law of Robotics, how about

4. A robot shall visit the Carnival of Space every 604800 seconds and follow all the quality links contained therein as long as this does not conflict with the First, Second or Third Laws.

This week's Carnival is hosted by the spacetweepsociety, jump on over, there's lots to see and do!

Cosmic Coelacanths

We all love bright and showy spiral galaxies! So much so, that we tend to overlook the elliptical galaxies which make up about 30% of the galaxies out there.

Smaller than spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies may be full of stellar living fossils, surviving virtually unchanged from an older cosmic era. Their stars are mainly old reddish stars, rather than the young blue-white star which blaze in the arms of spiral galaxies. This aging population is because there an initial frenzy of star formation in the galaxies' early days this soon fizzled out. The interstellar matter which provided the raw material for new generations of stars in galaxies like our own is scarce in elliptical galaxies. This absence of gas and dust explains an elliptical galaxy's spheroidal shape; there is nothing to flatten the orbits of the stars into a single plane of rotation.

Elliptical galaxies are smaller than spiral galaxies, roughly spherical and full of old stars. You may be thinking that this sounds familiar and you would be correct. Elliptical galaxies are very similar to the cores of spiral galaxies. This may be exactly what they are. We know that galaxies interact and even collide. Theories suggest that this processed can rip the arms clean off spiral galaxies, leaving behind a disrupted core which we see as an elliptical galaxy. What happens next? Perhaps the galaxy will accumulate gas and dust from the intergalactic medium as it wanders through the void, building new spiral arms in the process. Alternatively it will simply drift on forever as a cosmic coelacanth, reminding observers of the Universe's earlier days.

The image (click on it to enlarge it) shows elliptical galaxy NGC 4696 in the Centaurus Galaxy Cluster, notable for the 30 000 light year long streak of dust running across it. NGC 4696 is some 155 million light years from our own galaxy, so we are seeing it with light which left the galaxy in Earth's early Cretaceous Period, about the time the first mammals were scurying between dinosaurs' feet.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Latest Armagh Planetarium Astronomy Courses

Astronomy Courses

These are coming soon and I'm really looking forward to presenting them. Book now to avoid disappointment!

The Carnival of Space No 166

The Carnival of Space: Issue #166

The latest Carnival of Space is here already, hosted by Gishbartimes.org. Check it out, there's lots to see.

Three easy to spot stars

Around this time of year, go outside after 10pm on a clear night and look at the sky. Even if it is not quite dark a bright star will be visible in the south. This is Vega, the third brightest star in our sky (only Sirius and Arcturus are brighter). If you look a little more you will see two more bright stars, these are Deneb and Altair. Together with Vega they form a large triangle with the point downwards. This has been known as the Summer Triangle for a century or more. The three stars are members of three different constellations and as it gets darker you will be able to see more of their fellow stars. Deneb is the tail of Cygnus (the Swan), Altair is in Aquila (the Eagle) and Vega is in Lyra (the Lyre). The Summer Triangle is not actually a constellation itself, just a nice handy grouping of stars, astronomers call these asterisms.

What about the stars themselves? Well, all three are brilliant white A class stars, to our eyes Vega is the brightest, next brightest is Altair and Deneb is the faintest. However, although it looks the dimmest, Deneb is actually by far and away the biggest and brightest of the three stars. In fact, it is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. So why does it look relatively dim compared to Altair and Vega? Deneb is thousands of light years from us, much, much further away than the other two stars which are very close to us in astronomical terms. Altair is located just 17 light years away from Earth, so it is one of the closest stars visible to the naked eye. Vega is another near neighbour of ours, a mere 25.4 light years from the Sun.

Altair is just a little bigger than the Sun but is spinning very, very fast. The star rotates once around its axis every 6.5 hours (our Sun takes more than 25 days). As a result Altair's shape is extremely flattened, it you were close enough you would see that is not a sphere like the Sun but shaped more like a thick discus. If its rotation rate was much faster it would have been pulled apart.

Vega is twice as big as our Sun and about fifty times as bright, it spins very quickly too, but not as fast as Altair. Vega is very interesting to astronomers, as in 1983 scientists using a satellite called IRAS unexpectedly discovered Vega is surrounded by a shell of dust and ice bigger than our Solar System. Nobody is sure why this material is there. Some scientists suggest that it is evidence for huge comets orbiting the star, others say it is material forming into new planets or even debris left over from colliding planets!

The stars of the Summer Triangle are easy to see and individually fascinating. Why not point them out to your friends before exploring the other wonders of the summer sky?

Image credit: NASA, ESA, A. Fujii

Oh no, not again!

Summer 2010 isn't over yet but already Hollywood is planning next year's offensive on our wallets. One planned blockbuster for summer 2011 is Battle:LA in which extraterrestrial invaders spread alarm and dismay in southern California (the image is from the film's viral marketing campaign). An expensive production starring Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez (whose character based on past form probably will not survive to the end of the movie), the film is said to feature realistic and gritty combat sequences and well-thought out alien designs.

Alas, one aspect of the script is not well-thought out. Script writer Jonathan Liebesman has explained the aliens' motive behind their anti-social behaviour "Earth is 70 percent water. The aliens in our movie use water for may different things, so they are here for those natural resources." (Quote from Io9.com.)

What can I say but "Dumb!Dumb!Dumb!"(That sound you hear is me banging my head on the desk.)

Imagine you are leading an alien water-stealing mission to our Solar System. Do you
a. Go to Earth, beat up the natives and take some of their water or
b. Go to Saturn where there is about a hundred thousand trillion tonnes of pure water in the form of nice ice cubes in the planet's rings ready for the taking. And there's a pretty view too. And don't get me started on Enceladus, Mimas, Dione and the other 60 or so Saturnian moons. Or the other gas giant satellites...

It's been done before, the invaders in the original V (1983-85) came for our water, and in Caretaker (1995), the pilot for Star Trek: Voyager (yes I watched it, somebody had to) the quasi-evil Kazons were crossing interstellar space to steal the H2O from the home planet of the bland and dim-witted Ocampa.

If you have a starship, space is full of water. Only aliens and scriptwriters don't get that!

Carnival of Space No 165

The latest Carnival of Space has materialised over at Cumbrian Sky. Check it out; it really is bigger on the inside than the outside!

(The awesome Dr Who/Simpsons mashup is courtesy of the Springfieldpunx blog.)

ESO - eso1032 - Seeing a Stellar Explosion in 3D

ESO - eso1032 - Seeing a Stellar Explosion in 3D

A fascinating story about the most violent explosions in the Universe. It's nice to see a researcher from QUB is prominent in this field.

Carnival of Space No 164

There's always something new and exciting at the Carnival of Space. The latest is hosted by nextbigfuture.com. Call in and enjoy the show.

Aliens, vampires and dragons: six startling stories of super science

The latest issue of Astronotes will be available soon, here is a taster for this month's staggering stories.

1. Are aliens lurking on a Saturnian moon? Sinead McNicholl investigates these ominous rumours.

2. The day the Chinese navy saved the Earth from a cosmic dragon! The truth is revealed by Martina Redpath.

3. White-hot comet lumps to bombard Planet Earth! Mary Bulman issues a stark warning.

4. Vampires sighted in Armagh Planetarium! Tracy McConnell reports on the shocking truth.

5. Horrible things in hyperspace? Colin Johnston exposes the danger.

6. A strange object in space is the subject of our Image of the Month.

Dare you explore what lies within these pages?

The Space Review: The man who painted my future

The Space Review: The man who painted my future

An interesting article I thought I'd share, I still have that same book which inspired the author of this piece.

Carnival of Space No 163

The latest Carnival of Space is here already! And it's as great as ever! You can find it at Emily Lakdawalla's blog for the Planetary Society. Enjoy!

A planet that thinks it's a comet!

Some 150 light years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus lies the star HD 209458 and its planetary system. The star is almost a clone of our own Sun, but one its planets is completely unlike anything in our Solar System.

The exoplanet HD 209458b has a mass more than 200 times Earth’s and has a diameter greater than Jupiter’s. It orbits its star at about an eighth of the distance Mercury orbits the sun, so the exoplanet takes only 3.5 days to complete an orbit. This proximity to a star means that the planet is hot, perhaps 1000°C, hence it is classed as a “hot Jupiter”. Note that it will not be as hot as this everywhere; the planet is tidally locked to its star, having one side in permanent blazing day and one in an eternal cooler night.

The temperature differential of this planet was expected to mean that it has a violently seething atmosphere (which we know contains carbon dioxide, water vapour and methane). This has been proven: wind speeds of 5000 to 10 000 km per hour have been observed. Perhaps even more dramatic is the fact that the atmosphere is leaking into space, with stellar winds pushing the escaping material into a long stream behind the planet. HD 209458b must look like a gigantic comet! This was long expected but now has been proven thanks to observations with the HST. (The artist’s impression shows it viewed from a hypothetical moon, we have no images of this planet.)

In billions of years, HD 209458b will entirely lose its atmosphere, and be a barren sphere of rock and metal (a so-called cthonian planet), arid on one side, frigid on the other.

Image credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon, STScI

Moon Hoax? Apollo 15 Rover Traverse

This is a nice little movie made during the Apollo 12 mission on a traverse of the Hadley-Apennine region.


It is difficult to look at this newly-released Hubble Space Telescope image of the nebula NGC 2467 without thinking about what it would be like to fly through it.

It is easy to imagine floating through a beautiful softly glowing mist, something like the Mutara Nebula, scene of Kirk and Spock's finest hour. Alas the truth is unlikely to be as dramatic. The (mainly hydrogen) gas and dust in this star-forming region is thin. In each cubic centimetre of the nebula there are only a thousand or so particles (the corresponding value in the solar System would be about 1 particle per cubic centimetre). Also the light emitted would be faint and colourless to the naked eye. It appears so spectacular in this image because it is made with a lengthy exposure of more than half an hour.

This nebula is located about 13 000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation of Puppis (the Ship's Stern or sometimes the Poop-deck). Most of the energy stimulating the nebula's glow comes in the form of harsh ultra-violet radiation from the bright star in the upper centre of the image.

Another beautiful and thought-provoking image from the HST!

Image credit: NASA, ESA and Orsola De Marco (Macquarie University)

Top Ultimately Safe Cars Named

The Insurance Institute for the Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Administration has these cars as the "Top Safety Picks" and top raters in all crash tests.

The Acura RDX with its price around $33,000 to $37,000 and a fuel economy of 21 mpg garnered the pick due to its electronic stability. This factor helps control the vehicle and prevents it from flipping over during emergency maneuvers. The Acura RDX has a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and an all-wheel handling system which can continuously shift powers from side to side.

Also named was the Honda CR-V. This unit sells around $23,000 to $28,000 and has 24 mpg fuel economy. Sharing much of its basic engineering with the Acura RDX, the Honda CR-V is more ordinary-feeling and has less expensive car suspension and all-wheel-drive systems. This vehicle also has a more powerful engine than the Acura RDX.

Another Honda made it to the list, the Honda Pilot. This is one of the most popular crossover SUVs which has with it the standard Honda electronic stability control. This car sells around $27,000 to $35,500 and has a fuel economy of 19 mpg.

Next on the list is the Hyundai Entourage which the new minivan from Hyundai. This vehicle with a selling price at around $24,000 to $29,000 and an overall fuel economy at 20 mpg, is very much like the Kia Sedona only that the Kia Sedona has a smooth and quiet ride with comfortable interior and solid build quality. This is quoted from the "Editors Top Recommended Vehicle" by Edmunds.com.

Another car mentioned earlier, the Kia Sedona also managed to snag a position on the list. Having a fuel economy of 20 mpg and sold at $20,500 to $26,000, the Kia Sedona represents an "excellent value", again, this is recommended by Edmunds. Com.

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is also on the list. This crossover vehicle handles very well considering its size. This $43,000 to $85,000 class has a fuel economy of 19 for ML350 and 16 for the ML500. This car has its featured top parts and the Mercedes repair manual.

Another on the list is the Subaru B9 Tribeca which sells at around $30,000 to $37,000 with a fuel economy of 20 mpg. This particular vehicle has some peculiar design and performs well in crash tests. Another Subaru, the Forester, rank in the top. This Subaru has 25mpg and price around $30,000 to $37,000. Still, another Subaru, the Legacy which is an all-wheel-drive and can perform strongly in the crash tests sells around $20,500 to $34,000 and has a fuel economy of 25 mpg.

Recommend : refinance loans

Bermuda Car Rental

Bermuda is a wonderful place to have a honeymoon. As we all know it is among the top islands in the Caribbean that tourists constantly visit to relax and get away from it all. One of the biggest reasons why it is so popular is because of its great beaches. But aside from this there are also many different places that you can visit in the island. Some examples are:

o Crystal caves

o Lighthouses

o Botanical Gardens

o Museums

o Zoos

o St. George

These are just some of the great things that you can see in the island, there are many more. The only problem that some people have is not being able to see all of these. Sometimes going on a tour or using public transportation can really limit what you do. The best solution to a problem like this is to drive around the island yourself.

There are many Bermuda car rental services that you can use to help you do this. Finding one can be very easy as well. All you need to do is run a search through the internet for Bermuda car rental and you should already have all the information that you need to get you started. You should take the time to check out each website and what they have to offer. This will give you a good idea of what you are up against.

Picking the service to work with is also quite simple. If you are not too sure which one to try out there are some tried and tested car hire services on the island. Of course you don't expect to get the cheapest price out of this though. If you are looking for a cheaper option there are some local but reliable services around as well. The best way that you can get a good deal is to shop around before settling for something. Check out what each one has to offer and which one can give you the most for the price that you will be paying.

Don't forget that before you set off driving you will need to familiarize yourself with the various driving rules in the island. You should also make sure that you have the right license or temporary permit to be able to drive; If you keep these things in mind you will surely be able to enjoy driving around and viewing the different attractions in Bermuda.

Related : refinance loans

7 Smart Ways to Do Car Shopping

Have you ever had the experience of buying a car? If yes, then what is it that you will take into account? But, if you have not been through that kind of experience, great! We will tips you on the important things that you should look out for when you want to purchase a car.

1 - First of all, plan your budget properly. Take note of other expenses as well after you purchase the car like down-payment and monthly installment, fuel consumption, maintenance fee, yearly insurance as well as road tax renewal. Then, decide on a new car or second hand car. The decision is very much depending on the budget you allocate.

2 - Take into consideration as well the purpose of you wanting to buy a car. If you need only the normal ones that can cater 1 to 4 people, get the economical ones. If you are planning to get a car for 6 or more, getting a MPV should be a wiser choice. Car features and specifications are equally important. In this case, the brand name plays the biggest role.

3 - Different brand names offer different features that you can expect for the car. If you are a sports car lover, a Ferrari might be your choice or any other sports car brand. As for an executive or those in managerial level, a Mercedes Benz suits them better. When you purchase a car, make sure they suit your image and the purpose of you getting them.

4 - Like how you did your shopping, it is advisable as well to ask around and look around for a better deal when you plan to buy a car. If you are getting a loan for your car, make sure you get the right finance company, preferably a reputable one.

5 - As we mention earlier, keeping a car might expand your expenses a lot more than you can imagine. You might want to get advises from a mechanic for the maintenance fee of a certain car. Some cars might need higher maintenance fee some are lower. Thus, get the advice you need from an experienced mechanic to save your maintenance cost. Fuel consumption is important as well. Try to get a car that consumes lesser fuel. That saves you a lot on your expenditure.

6 - As the saying goes 'Safety First', it goes the same as well if you are looking for a car. Safety feature is nonetheless one of the most important point to look out for. The safety crash test results and the total of air bags a car has must be taken into account before you decide on a car. Same goes to the warranty as well as terms and conditions. Being under warranty helps a lot because you will not know when your car might give you trouble. So, make sure your car warranty is extended.

7 - Last but not least, your road tax and insurance. The higher capacity of your car engine, the higher the cost for your road tax. If you do not see the need of getting a high capacity engine, then opt for a smaller capacity. Remember as well the yearly insurance of your car is not a small amount too. The cost that you need to cover every year to renew your insurance should be taken account when making your budget.

Related : aviation accident attorney personal injury solicitors remortgage house

Why Athletes Go Broke

The "Real Deal" is broke.

Former Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is playing the real life game of Deal Or No Deal. It has been reported that his $10 million estate in suburban Atlanta was under foreclosure, the mother of one of his children was suing for unpaid child support although it appears he has made good on that debt. A Utah consulting company has gone to court claiming the boxer failed to pay back more than a half million dollars for landscaping. Just one more high profile athlete having to scale back his lifestyle to the level to which you have I have been accustomed. Why is it that athletes who seem to have everything are often completely unable to control anything related to finances?

We all played our violins to death when we heard of Latrell Sprewell's financial troubles. On Halloween 2004, Sprewell, who was in the final season of a $62-million five-year contract with the New York Knicks, said he was insulted by the Minnesota Timberwolve's offer of a contract extension that was reportedly worth between $27 million and $30 million for three seasons. Sprewell stated, "I've got my family to feed." That quote become a national moniker for the public perception of athletes as greedy, out of touch individuals. Apparently, Sprewell still can't feed his family. His yacht was recently repossessed and his multi-million dollar mansion is about to be foreclosed on.

While there is certainly the stereotype of the financially irresponsible NBA athlete, no professional sport is immune.

Let's take a look at some high profile athlete financial sob stories over the years:

1. No one my age can forget Jack"The Ripper" Clark , star player for the Boston Red Sox who filed for bankruptcy in 1992 in the middle of his second year of a three-year, $8.7 million contract with Boston; he listed $6.7 million in debts. Jack was a master of financial planning and prudent asset acquisition. His bankruptcy petition listed assets such as 18 automobiles, including a 1990 Ferrari that cost $717,000 and three 1992 Mercedes Benz cars costing between $103,000 and $143,000. He owed money on 17 of the automobiles and was liable for about $400,000 in Federal and state taxes. He had also lost about $1 million in a drag-racing venture. Sounds like Jack would have been more at home in the NBA. You can read about it hereMike Tyson\'s Bentley

2. Johnny Unitas, Hall of Fame quarterback for the Baltimore Colts, filed for bankruptcy in 1991 citing numerous failed business ventures in his petition These failed bits included bowling alleys, land deals and restaurants. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991.

3. Mike Tyson The name speaks for itself. Mike's bankruptcy was highly publicized. Despite earning hundreds of millions during his boxing career, Mike kept it simple. His bankruptcy petition simply stated: " I am unable to pay my bills". According to federal court records, his liabilities totaled about $27 million. You can read that story here.

4. Dorothy Hamill, the women's figure-skating gold medalist in the 1976 Winter Games, filed for bankruptcy after a series of financial setbacks. Hamill said she has experienced financial setbacks as a result of poor financial investment advice and management.

These are just a few of many athletes' tales of woe. It is not a phenomenon limited to professional sports - just ask M.C Hammer. Prior to his declaring bankruptcy, it was made public that his day to day living expenses far exceeded his income of $33 million. If I am going to veer off to celebrities, I certainly have to mention Kim Basinger and Michael Jackson.

When the Toronto Star ran an article alleging that a shocking 60 percent of NBA athletes "go broke" five years after retiring, did we not all pull out that very tiny violin we have reserved for such occasions? The NBA players union and the NBA have both disputed that assertion. The article goes on to talk about all the people taking advantage of and "scamming" these athletes. While I have no doubt there is truth to this, I can also understand how such a generalization would make the NBA uncomfortable. It leaves you with the impression that 60 percent of NBA players are not only financially inept but also idiots in general. This is simply not true. While good business sense is often lacking, I view many of their mistakes as being more mistakes of trust, credibility and lack of life experience than anything else. Smart, busy people who can afford it, hire people with targeted expertise to help them. This allows them to focus on their expertise. Sometime mistakes are made and bad judgment is used in who we hire and hang out with. That is not unique to the NBA or professional sports. This happens to everyone. That is life. It happens all the time. It just does not make front page when we screw up. If there is any question at all as to how badly we as the general public screw up, just look at the personal bankruptcy filing statistics.

In order to get a perspective from the inside, I contacted Jordan Woy, a highly respected sports agent and a principal in the sports marketing/management firm of Schlegel Sports. Jordan has represented numerous high profile athletes

Here is what Jordon had to say:

I think there are several reasons why so many athletes "go broke". First, whether it is a lottery winner, an athlete or a star entertainer, if they are not equipped with the knowledge on how to make and save money they are in trouble. When they didn't earn it through disciplined business practices and they don't have those skills they usually go through it quickly. Most lottery winners or athletes make a great deal of money in a short period of time. They start spending it on things that only go down in value (cars, jewelry, partying, entourage, etc) and start to evaporate the money they do have. They can carry this off until they stop earning big money. This is when the trouble starts. It is hard to believe that MC Hammer, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and now Ed McMahon are broke. These are people who earned hundreds of millions over time and it disappeared. Lavish spending and entourages were probably the downfall for the first three for sure.

Most athletes play for four to ten years if they are lucky. After they pay taxes (can be 40 to 50%) and agent fees and buy their first homes, cars, outfits, jewelry (plus, cars, clothes and jewelry for friends and family), they are left with very little. When they first "strike it rich" all of their longtime friends and family expect help. Most athletes feel obligated to help everyone out at first then they wise up. They also want to keep up with their teammates. If someone buys a Bentley, they have to buy one; if someone buys a $75,000 watch, they have to buy one to keep up the appearance. Then, of course, when the career ends and they are still living in a multi million dollar house, driving 3 expensive cars (and insurance), traveling in private planes and taking Limo's when they go out on the town, reality sets in. The money dries up very quickly.

However, if athletes educate themselves, learn money management skills and make smart, safe investments along the way, they are usually in very good shape. After representing athletes for over 20 years, we call this our "life plan". We take out clients on working vacations in the off season to places like Las Vegas, Cancun and on a cruise to the Bahamas to learn business networking. We have people from industries such as real estate, oil and gas, financial planning, credit repair, asset protection/estate planning, etc come to educate the players and their wives so they can learn about these business and also determine if they are interested in any of these industries for life after sports. One of the financial planners who comes always says most people die coming down from Mt. Everest not going up. The goal is for these athletes to get to their Mt. Everest AND to get down safely.

So, what do you think? Are the financial mistakes that athletes make any different than your mistakes or mine? They are certainly mistakes made with a higher downside. When we hear these stories are we just unable to comprehend that someone could have that much money and spend it all? Can we learn lessons on how to live our lives from their highly publicized financial gaffes? Do we even care at all?

With all due respect to Latrell Sprewell, we have our own families to feed....

My Links : remortgage house

Long-Term Care Insurance - What to Do & What to Avoid

Long-term care financing and planning takes some thought and education to put together a policy that is best for you and your financial situation. It is easy to get confused and become paralyzed into "inaction." Here are some key points of what to do or not do.

Purchasing Too Much Coverage:

It is important to get some type of long-term care insurance without over insuring. Look at your finances and determine how much you can comfortably afford to pay for long-term care and co-insure with your long-term care insurance policy. Purchasing long-term care insurance can be compared to buying an auto. A Ford will get you to the same place as a Mercedes, but it will cost you much less. Having some long-term care insurance is better than not having any long- term care insurance.

Waiting Too Long:

You will not save money by waiting to purchase long-term care insurance at a later date. The cost for you today is less expensive than it will ever be. As you get older, the rates go up.

Inflation Protection:

You need to seriously consider 5% Compound Inflation Protection, especially if you are under 70 years of age. It costs more, but it adds all the value to your long-term care insurance policy.

A Sound Long-Term Care Plan:

It is necessary to learn what your options are in the event that long-term care is needed. Do you have the assets to cover the expenses and still live the lifestyle you desire? Where do you want to receive care? How quickly can you liquidate your assets? Will you lose money if you liquidate? What are the tax consequences? Do we have enough income to live on?

Impact on Family:

How will a long-term care event affect your family? What happens when a spouse needs care? Will this affect the work of the other spouse? Is the family capable of providing the necessary care? Can the children help? How will this affect their work and family?


Many think that Medicare will cover all of the costs of long-term care. This is not true. It covers some very limited costs that meet Medicare's criteria.

Comparable and Competitive Quotes:

Some companies are more competitive in relation to age or health status. Long-term care insurance quotes should be compared from at least three of the top companies. Different companies have unique "sweet spots" depending upon age, marital/partner status and health

Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist:

Consult with a Long-Term Care insurance Specialist, an independent agent that stays informed of new plans that come into the marketplace. A long-term care specialist can easily help you compare the different plans getting them closer to an "apples to apples" comparison.

Shopping by Price:

Getting the lowest price for a long-term care insurance policy is not the way to plan. The cheapest price may or may not have the options that you will need when you are ready to use your plan.

Top Carriers:

When getting long-term care insurance quotes from three different companies, it is important to check the financial ratings of the company. You should look for companies with at least A ratings.

Long-Term Care Costs:

You need to be informed of the real cost of long-term care (home care, assisted living, nursing facilities) in your area. If you live in an expensive State, you will need to adjust your long-term care insurance benefits according to what the costs are in your area. If you are planning to retire to a less expensive area, then that should also be taken into consideration. Different considerations should be taken if you are planning on living overseas.

A Long-Term Care insurance specialist who represents the top companies can help develop an unbiased plan that is unique to you and your situation.

See Also : remortgage house refinance loans personal injury solicitors

How to Remove Window Tinting

At some point of time or the other, the idea may be hitting your mind that getting your car tinted would be a great idea. On the contrary, having a car with tinted windows has become slightly outdated. The tint on the glass decreases your visibility, specifically when you are driving in the night time and possibly, having such windows could be against the law in your own state. Hence you need to locate a cheap method to remove the tinting by doing it on your own. So here are the things which you can do for it:

Luckily, there are a number of verified ways in which you can remove the tinting of the windows of the car at the most reasonable prices and that too effectively. All you require for doing this are simple tools, a bit of spare time time and good amounts of elbow grease. The other things that you need to bear in mind while clearing the tinting of widows is to keep one of the windows open to avoid inhalation of any kind of fumes. Besides this, in case you are employing a steamer or a dryer, see that you do not burn yourself from them.

Removing Window Tinting with Steaming:

This stands to be the simplest and the most hygienic way of removing tinting from the windows. What actually happens is heat is applied on the interiors of the window making use of a hand-held steamer or a dryer. Doing this would help in melting the glue so that you can mildly drag the sheet out along with removing it. One should go slow while performing this method to remove the tinting as pulling out the sheet toughly would break it and would result into retention of glue on the window.

Removing Window Tinting by Washing and Scraping:

This method consists of cutting and pulling the sheet by a razor blade. As soon as the sheet is pulled out, the glue that stays back on the window should be scoured with soapy water. Besides this, you have to be extra cautious while performing this method to remove the tinting on windows as it may happen that the windows may get scratched or damaged, causing harm to the defroster lines.

Removing Window Tinting by Ammonia and Heat:

Before performing this method to remove tints from the windows of your car, you need to do a number of preparations. For this, you need to park your car somewhere in the sun and cover the interiors of the car with a poly canvas or trash bags in order to shield them from upholstery. After this, you need to spray the interiors of the window with unadulterated ammonia and then wrap it up with a poly-bag, ensuring that it sits properly against the window. Thereafter you need to spray the exteriors of the window of the car with the help of soapy water and wrap it up also with a poly bag.

Hence, by resorting to these methods, you can easily remove the tinting of the windows of your car.

Related : aviation accident attorney remortgage house

Claim Negotiation - Beat the Insurance Company

Is there a correct way to a successful claim negotiation? Yes there is. But you must be willing to play hard ball. I am not kidding you. Insurance companies are the very best negotiators out there. They know the

rules, and they know when to break them. They understand the system, and they can and will take advantage of the unwary.

It does not matter if you are dealing with a personal injury claim, a health insurance claim, or the total loss value of your car. Insurance companies will use "dirty techniques" to get you to settle for the

least amount possible. For example, in the case of a total loss, they will cut your rental car early so you do not have a car to drive. The only way to get money to go find another car is to settle your total loss right then.

How can you handle a good claim negotiation? Or better yet, how can you play hard ball and beat the insurance company? The best thing you can do is to document in writing everything about your claim. If the insurance company contacts you and tells you that the value of your car is at most

$10,000, then you need to tell them to put it on writing. Everything the adjuster says must be on writing. This makes insurance companies nervous because you can always show that an adjuster has misrepresented the facts or the law and they can be suit for bad faith.

You can ask the insurance adjuster to follow up in writing. However, you can also write a letter stating the highlights of your conversation. You can also ask the adjuster for written evidence of what they

say is in your policy or is required by law. For example, you can write the following:

Ms. Adjuster, per our conversation today, you have stated that you cannot provide a rental car for

more than three days. Please provide the pertinent statute that states that. You also told me that per my policy, I had agreed to go to arbitration if you and I disagree to the value of the settlement. Please provide the exact policy language, noting page, paragraph, policy edition, and all pertinent definitions.

Thank you."

You are now binding the insurance company to its words. If you send a letter to the insurance company, make sure you send it certified or at least you get delivery confirmation; if you ever need to prove that you did send it, then you can do that with no problems.

Documenting everything with the insurance company is also an effective way to avoid the common technique of "changing adjusters." Insurance companies and their managers know when the "claim negotiation" is not going their way. They love to switch adjusters on you so you have to renegotiate

points that you have already settle on. Most insurance companies will tell you that the adjuster went on vacation, is ill, left the insurance company, or that they had to reassign the claim for some other reason. Although this could be legitimate, it is also very convenient. Be aware.

If you have everything documented, a new adjuster cannot just tell you: "well sir, I am sorry Bob said that he would give you $7,000 for your car, that is clearly a lot more than I would ever be able to give you, I can only settle for $5,500." If you do not have anything in writing, then you could have an uphill battle getting the value back to $7,000. But if you have this in a letter, you can show it to a lawyer, a jury, or the office of the department of insurance. You've got them!

The only way you can really beat the insurance company is by making sure everything is in writing, every negotiation, every law, every quote or estimate. This is the only way you can hold the insurance company up to their promises.

Recommend : refinance loans personal injury solicitors

Worst Cars To Buy

First of all, avoid any car the first year it's released. I noticed in the paper this morning that you could lease a new Ford whatever their new SUV/sedan cross is for the same price you lease a Ford Explorer. What fool would buy a new car, before the manufacturer has had a year or two to iron out the bugs? They're in constant contact with dealers and service departments to find out how their new cars are performing and what customers like and don't like about them. Give them some time to fine tune the car before buying it for yourself.

Never buy whatever car is super popular. You'll pay top dollar, and you'll never get that money back out of it. No car dealer will dealer on a hot car. Why should they, if someone else who's willing to pay full price will buy it later that day? It's often hard to find a dealer who even has a hot car on his lot. There's no way in the world they're going to give you a price break if they're the only dealer within 200 miles who has the car everyone wants. And two or three years later, when you're ready to sell the car, there are enough of them available, and they may no longer be the hottest car, that you won't be able to sell it for the same top dollar you bought it for.

A car that you only keep for a year or two definitely qualifies as a 'worst car to buy.' One study I read found that if a person kept every car they bought for ten years or more, instead of buying or leasing a new one every three years, that they would save $400,000 by the time they turned 65. It didn't matter whether they bought the car new or used, or what kind of car they bought. It was cheaper-significantly cheaper-to buy it and pay for whatever repairs came up. Cars are lasting longer every year, so it's possible you could keep your car even longer than ten years, and save even more money. Please don't be one of those people who buys a new car every four or five years.

Please don't make the terrible mistake of leasing your next car. Car salesmen can convince anyone that this is a great way to go if you don't have a lot of money to put down for your car (who does?) or if you want to buy a nicer car that you couldn't afford otherwise. You can't afford to lease a car; even Bill Gates can't afford to lease a car. Please cross leasing off your list of car options. We can't find anything truly worthwhile about leasing.

And now our list of worst cars to buy for 2007 (by make and model):

BMW 7 Series and X5

Chevy Astro, Blazer, Express, S-10 with 4WD, Venture,

Chrysler Town & Country (with all wheel drive)

Dodge Grand Caravan (all wheel drive)

GMC Jimmy, Sonoma 4WD, Safari, Savana

Infiniti QX56Jaguar S and X-types

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Kia Sedona (the 2006 is acceptable, if you must buy a Kia)

Land Rover Discovery

Lincoln Aviator and Navigator

Mercedes-Benz CLK, M- and S-Classes, SL

Nissan Armada, Titan

Oldsmobile Bravada, Cutlass and Silhouette

Pontiac Aztek, Trans Sport,

Volkswagen Cabrio, Jetta Turbo, Jetta V6, Beetle, Touareg

That's our politically correct list. But the fact is, in a million years we'll never buy: any British car (Land Rover, Jaguar, Mini-Cooper, Lotus, etc.); any German car (Volkswagon, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, etc.) or any French car. Have you ever sat in the back seat of a BMW? If you're more than five feet tall, there's no headroom. A lot of these cars have become associated with the rich-you've made if you drive a Mercedes. But I've never met anyone who any of these who was really happy with it. We know all about the numbers of repairs per vehicle, but we've own a lot of these cars, or had family member or close friends who owned them. Please don't make the same mistake these people did. Buy yourself a nice Honda or Toyota.

Friends Link : personal injury solicitors refinance loans

Understanding Your Incentive Stock Options

If you receive stock options as part of your employee compensation package then you are one of the lucky ones. This article is intended to shine a little light on how one of these options, incentive stock options, works from an employer incentive standpoint and how they function for tax purposes.

The fact that you are receiving stock options is a testament to your value as an employee. Management realizes that competent people are critical to the success of any organization. For public companies, stock options are a way to motivate employee behavior, while at the same time anchoring good employees to the company by virtue of placing certain vesting requirements or restrictions on the exercise of the stock options.

How valuable are stock options? Let me give you an example that, to this day, is still fresh in my memory. When I was just starting out my career and working for a large international accounting firm, I was put on assignment for a project with a large, publicly-held pharmaceutical company. I was into my sixth month on the project and I remember it was a Friday and there was an unusual congenial buzz about the facility, much more than the typical Friday in the summer in New Jersey.

I began to ask around as to the source of this congeniality and soon found out that some stock option vesting window opened (vesting is a restriction on an employee's ability to exercise stock options) and because the stock price had been flying high at that moment, there were many individuals who were about to make a lot of money by exercising their stock options (purchasing the stock) and selling their newly acquired shares.

Well, the weekend passed uneventfully for me, but on that Monday, when I made my way into the parking lot of my big client, I noticed something very different. It appeared to me as if the parking lot had, over the weekend, transformed itself into a new car dealership -- BMWs here, Mercedes' there. It seemed surreal to me, all these new cars magically appearing over the weekend. It quickly dawned on me that, indeed, there had been some spending of those stock options over the weekend. This disproportionate distribution of wealth is what stock options are all about. The American Dream of "overnight" wealth.

Companies that grant stock options to employees refer to such grants as Compensatory Stock Options. These are broken down into two categories: Incentive Stock Options ("ISO", the subject of this article) and Nonqualified Stock Options. Most employees receive incentive stock options. Nonqualified stock options are usually earmarked for senior executives or non-employees that the company feels are critical to the management of the company's business.

ISOs give the employee the right to purchase the company's stock (called "exercising" the stock option) at a fixed price (called the "exercise price"), for a period of time not to exceed ten years from the date the options are granted to the employee (called "grant date"). The employee can only exercise the ISO as long as they are an employee of the company or within twelve months after termination of employment. There is no taxation to the employee when they receive their ISOs. Even better, there is no regular income tax when the employee exercises the stock option (buys the stock). Taxation occurs in two instances:

1. When the employee exercises the stock option (purchases the stock) there is no regular income taxation, but there may be an alternative minimum tax on the excess of the fair market value of the stock on the exercise date over the employee's exercise price (discounted purchase price of the stock).

2. When the employee exercises the stock option (purchases the stock) and subsequently sells the stock there is taxation. Here is where ISO taxation gets complicated. When you buy your company stock (exercise the stock option) and sell the company stock the taxable amount is determined based on when you sold the stock. You can purchase the company stock (exercise the ISO) and sell the stock in the same year (called a disqualified disposition) or you can purchase the company stock and sell the stock in a subsequent year. When you sell the company stock in a subsequent year the regular tax treatment depends upon how long you held the stock and how long you held the stock options.

*Buy and Sell the company stock in same year or within twelve months. You may have both W-2 income and short term capital gain income as follows:

- W-2 Income is equal to either A or B below, whichever is the lower amount:

(A) The fair market value of the employer stock on the exercise date (date you purchased stock) over the exercise price (discounted purchase price) or

(B) The sales proceeds on the sale of the company stock over the exercise price (discounted purchase price) and

- Short-Term Capital Gain Income is equal to the excess of the sales proceeds on the sale of the company stock over the fair market value of the company stock on the exercise date (date of purchase).

* Buy company stock in one year and sell it in the next year. If you hold the stock for more than twelve months (and you held the ISO for more than two years), then the difference between the sales price and the exercise price is a long term capital gain which is subject to a maximum 15% federal tax rate. If you hold the stock for twelve months or less than the tax calculation is the same as if you had bought and sold the stock in the same year (W-2 income and possibly short-term capital gain income).

ISO Example: Stan Smith is an employee of Savurlife Pharmaceutical Inc. and is given ISOs on January 1, 2004 that entitle him to purchase (exercise) 100 shares of Savurlife at $1,000 (exercise price) on January 2, 2006 (exercise date/purchase date). The fair market value on January 2, 2006 is $3,000. If Stan does not sell the stock in 2006, then $2,000 ($3,000 less $1,000) will be subject to alternative minimum tax in 2006, but not subject to any regular income tax in 2006. If Stan sells the stock in 2006 for $3,000 then the $2,000 will be treated as W-2 wages in 2006. If Stan sells the stock on January 3, 2007 (one year and one day after purchase and ISO held more than two years) for $3,000 then the $2,000 gain will be treated as a long-term capital gain and taxed at no more than the maximum capital gains federal tax rate of 15%.

Employers will grant ISOs to employees but place certain restrictions on an employee's ability to exercise the ISOs. This is done, in part, to provide a means of preventing employees from seeking employment elsewhere. Employers use "vesting" (a typical restriction placed on the employee's ability to exercise an ISO that may be tied to some vesting date) as a means of motivating the employee to stay with the employer. ISOs are typically granted annually and may be tied to some specific goal achieved by the employee or an overall goal (i.e. earnings target) achieved by the company. Over time these ISOs can become a substantial incentive to stay with the employer. If you find yourself the lucky recipient of an ISO, bide your time, work hard, and wait for that ISO Friday to cash in on the American Dream.

Thanks To : refinance loans aviation accident attorney

Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance

Do you know what it means to have full coverage car insurance? Having full coverage car insurance means you have more than just the minimum car insurance to "get by" in your state. With full coverage car insurance, you and your car are just that - fully covered and protected against anything that may happen to you or your car.

Obviously full coverage car insurance is going to cost more than the minimum car insurance requirements in your state. This is because you are covering everything. Because of the difference in cost, many car owners choose to purchase their state's minimum car insurance requirements rather than purchase a full coverage car insurance policy.

Nice solution, but it won't work for everyone. Some people, for a variety of reasons, are required to purchase full coverage car insurance.

So, how can you get cheap full coverage car insurance?

There are a couple of ways to get cheap full coverage car insurance. First, search, search, search! Don't just choose the first car insurance company you find in the yellow pages - use all available resources. This includes newspaper advertisements, classifieds, commercials, billboards, word-of-mouth, and the Internet.

Second, search for a car insurance company that offers discounts for various reasons. Some car insurance companies offer discounts for good driving records, your age, the kind of car you drive, and the number of cars on your car insurance policy. There are also insurance companies that sell more than one kind of insurance policy, and will offer you discounts if you purchase two or more insurance policies from them. For example, you may be able to get cheap full coverage car insurance if, in addition to purchasing full coverage car insurance, you also purchase a homeowner's insurance policy from the insurance company, too.

More coverage doesn't always have to mean more money. Choosing the right company and finding discounts can help you get cheap full coverage car insurance.

Related : aviation accident attorney personal injury solicitors refinance loans

Car Financing With Bad Credit - Don't Settle For Abuse

Not everybody has good credit. This should not be news. But what may be news to people with less than stellar credit is that they don't have to settle for abuse when financing a car with bad credit. They just have to be aware of the different set of circumstances that is likely to apply to their situation.

If you're going to finance a car, even if you have good credit, it is often wiser to get a car loan from a bank. That can give you cash in hand when you walk into the dealer, which often can get a better deal on the vehicle (the dealer does not want to let a cash buyer walk away).

Unfortunately, if you have bad credit some banks will not lend you money for a car. Credit markets are tight these days after the subprime blowup, and banks are getting a bit pickier. That means you might be forced to finance through a dealer. This is where the potential for abuse comes in.

Some dealers will jack up the price of a car for borrowers with bad credit. This is often the case with dealers who say they specialize in helping bad credit borrowers. They might also add on extra "features" to your purchase price, like credit insurance. Their tactics are not necessarily a scam, but ignorance of what they're doing can cost you.

The best defense is knowledge. Here are some things to keep in mind if you finance through a dealer:

Often dealers use what is called a "captive" financing company (meaning it is owned and run by the auto manufacturer), and they need your business. You are not really in complete control, but you do not have to feel like you're begging either.

Research the price of the car before you buy. Do not settle for a 50-100% sticker markup because you think that is what you have to stomach due to your bad credit. Find the real price, then add $200-600 for dealer profit.

Be prepared to offer a solid down payment. If you can't put any money down at all, you will find yourself abused by financing companies, including dealers. If you can offer a larger down payment, you'll be a more attractive prospect...but don't forget that advice about not paying too much.

Consider dealer networks. These are what they sound like-networks of dealers. They compete for business, much like the members of a financial network like LendingTree do. If you have bad credit, submitting your information online to a dealer network might produce several dealer options for you.

In a nutshell, financing with bad credit does not have to be fraught with danger. You do not have to settle for abuse just because your credit is not perfect. But you do have to be smart to keep yourself from being raked over the coals.

Tags : personal injury solicitors refinance loans

Terms to Know Before Leasing A Vehicle - Leasing Jargon Simplified

So, you've decided that you want to lease that next vehicle. Can't really blame you. With today's incentives, rebates, and favourable lease rates why wouldn't you. Not only do you get to drive a new car, but a new car that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford if you were to purchase and finance it. Buyer beware though. With leasing comes new and sometimes rather confusing vocabulary. Don't get lost in a sea of leasing jargon. Protect yourself. Learn and understand the industry language. For those seriously thinking of leasing that next vehicle, here is a useful glossary of "new" terminology that you should familiarize yourself with BEFORE you negotiate a lease:

Acquisition Fee: An administrative charge levied by the leasing company for processing a lease. This fee is typically NOT negotiable and can have a significant bearing on the overall cost of the lease.

Base Interest Rate: This is the cost of leasing and using a vehicle and is measured by the interest paid over the lease term.

Buy at end-of-term interest rate: This is the net interest rate for the lease if the lessee, at the end of the lease term, purchases the vehicle at the end-of-lease purchase price.

Capitalized Cost: This is the total purchase price of the vehicle. The price includes the cost of all extras such as vehicle options, extended warranties, life insurance, and rustproofing. The capitalized cost equals the amount you would pay for the vehicle if the vehicle were being purchased.

Capitalized Cost Reduction: A capital cost reduction is a down payment, in the form of cash or trade-in, that is applied to the final purchase price of the vehicle reducing the monthly lease payment.

Closed End Lease: Leases in which the lessee's financial obligation rests only with the negotiated monthly lease payment. Since the residual value of the vehicle is stated in the lease contract, the lessee is not financially responsible if the actual value of the vehicle is less than the stated residual value. The lessee need only return the vehicle at the end of the lease term with no further obligation.

Dealer Participation: A rebate or discount, contributed by the dealer, reducing the final purchase price of the vehicle.

Depreciation: The decrease in value of a vehicle over time. Depreciation in automobile leasing is the difference in value between the cost of a new vehicle and the value of the vehicle at the end of the lease term.

Disposition Fee: A fee charged by the lessor at the end of a lease to ready the car for sale. The lessor may apply this fee against the deposit made by the lessee at the beginning of the lease term.

Down Payment: A sum of money paid at the beginning of a lease contract, usually at the time of signing, that is applied to the final purchase price. In leasing, the down payment is referred to as the capitalized cost reduction. Typically, the larger the down payment, the smaller the lease payment.

Early Termination Fee: A penalty paid by the lessee for terminating a lease contract early. A lessee pays for the depreciation of a vehicle in equal monthly payments. Since a vehicle's depreciation is highest in the first months of a lease, terminating a lease early results in the lessee using more of the vehicle's value than what they've paid for subjecting the lessee to penalty.

End-of-Lease Purchase Price: Also known as the residual value. This is the price at which the lessee may purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease term.

Excess Wear & Tear: Wear and tear beyond what is deemed acceptable by the leasing company. It is the responsibility of the lessee to take reasonable care of the car and to ensure it is returned at the end of the lease term in good condition. Bald tires, body dents, and engine trouble due to neglect could subject the lessee to repair and replacement charges.

Gap Insurance: The name given to a type of insurance coverage that covers the difference between the actual cash value of the leased vehicle and what is still owed on the lease contract. If a leased vehicle is destroyed in an accident or stolen, gap insurance coverage protects the lessee against additional losses due to "gaps " between the insurance settlement and the lessee's financial obligations set out in the lease contract.

Independent Lessor: These are non-traditional lessors, usually an individual business, that can structure and write a lease for most makes and models of vehicles. The terms and conditions of the lease agreement can be customized to accommodate different lease and mileage conditions.

Lease Extension: This is the continuation of a lease, beyond the original lease contract. Payments are continued on a month-by-month basis at the same sum negotiated at the beginning of the lease term.

Lease Term: This is the length of the lease contract. Most vehicles can be leased for 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 month lease terms. The monthly payment of a lease will vary depending on the length of the lease term.

Lessee: Name assigned to a person or party who signs a lease and agrees to assume responsibility for a vehicle and the lease payments.

Lessor: Name assigned to a person or party that owns the vehicle and agrees to lease it to the lessee.

Mileage Allowance: Lease agreements establish a maximum mileage allowance that the car may be driven over the life of the lease. The agreement will also specify the cost per mile or kilometer the car is driven over and above the allowance that is due and payable at the end of the lease term.

Money Factor: This is a number used to calculate the base interest rate of a lease. To arrive at a base interest rate, leasing companies will multiply a money factor by 2400. The money factor of a lease is known by the leasing and sales consultant at the dealership and is used to calculate the cost of money in the same fashion as an interest rate does. The lower the money factor, the lower the monthly lease payments.

Monthly Payment: A payment made on a specified date each and every month as specified in the lease contract. Monthly lease payments calculated on a lease contract typically include all applicable taxes.

Net Interest Rate: This is the total interest rate for a lease and represents the true cost of the lease. The lower the net interest rate, the lower the cost of the lease.

Open-End Lease: Leases in which the lessee's financial obligation may exceed the negotiated monthly lease payment. In an open-end lease the residual value is set at the beginning of the lease term. The lessee is financially responsible if the actual value of the vehicle is less than the stated residual value.

Purchase Option: Option extended to the lessee, at the end of a lease contract, to purchase the vehicle at the pre-determined purchase price. The pre-determined purchase price is normally the stated residual value in the lease contract.

Residual Penalty: This is the penalty a lessee pays if the end-of-lease purchase price is greater than the expected value of the vehicle at the end of the lease term.

Residual Value: This is the expected or pre-determined value of a leased vehicle at the end of the lease contract. The stated residual value on a lease contract is normally the buyout price at the end of a lease term. The residual value also determines whether the lessee should purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease term. If the residual value is less than the actual market value it would be advantageous for the lessee to buy the vehicle and sell it to a third party.

Security Deposit: This is a sum of money, paid up front, as security for excess wear and tear on the leased vehicle. The amount is refunded if the vehicle is returned in good condition. In some cases, the deposit may be applied against the final monthly payment.

Good luck and happy negotiating!

Visit : remortgage house

Buy cheap luxury cars - Government Seized Car Auction

Low cost luxury cars are the best way to improve the image of a company. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to spend a lot of money. These luxury cars can be very cheap or rented as well.

If there are special occasions, you can rent by the day and return it, saving a lot of money. There are many companies that do this type of activity and it is almost like an independent automotive.

Many companies use car technology worldwide and the design of its products at low cost. Chrysler is one of those companies. Opened a new avenue for luxury cars with $ 30,000. The most popular models include the Chrysler 300 and the Lexus IS 250.

In India, there are many transport companies that sell and rent luxury cars at low prices. These are generally provided for officials from other countries, tourists, and fairs.

Hotels also offer their customers luxuryAuto> for best results. Do not charge a lot for the transportation and SUVs like Innova and Tavera are used Mercedes for a team from the World Bank and Mitsubishi for all Japanese visitors.

The best place to find luxury cars are cheaper at auctions in Japan. There are car auctions in Japan, where you can buy a used car and export to your country. This saves a lot of money when compared to the purchase of a luxury to a local dealer.

TheJapanese are known for their models of Toyota, Nissan, Subaru and Honda. They offer all the comfort, safety and equipped with the latest technologies. But it is very important to find a reliable company, which is associated with the government.

Second-hand dealers are not reliable and may be unreliable. This process of buying a luxury car is very simple, you can do online. Normally, it sold 40,000 vehicles a day. The only drawback is that the process couldbe very slow.

There are many things you need to know when buying a luxury car cheaper to prevent fraud. Many people regret their decision after buying the car.

The first thing to do is care insurance. The car must be justified, some insurance companies do not provide safe to use, car insurances">cheap car. Then, the luxury car and the better the car needs to be revised. Must be considered and studiedcarefully before buying an expensive luxury car.

See Also : remortgage house aviation accident attorney