Tag Archives: Universe

Is there an edge to the Universe ?

It is commonly theorized that the universe began with the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. But since we can only see as far as light has traveled in that time, we can’t actually make out the edge of the universe. Could it be that the universe is infinite? Is there any way to find out what the shape of the universe really is? Can we find the edge, discover what might lie beyond it, and perhaps even discover a universe next to ours?

Scientists discover new Solar System

Scientists say they’ve discovered as many as seven planets orbiting a sun-like star.

It’s the richest planetary system discovered and may contain at least one planet nearly as small as Earth — which would make it the smallest planet found outside this solar system. One astronomer says it’s part of a growing body of evidence that the universe is full of planets — and that many could be similar to our own.

HD 10180, is located 127 light years away in the southern constellation of Hydrus. The five confirmed planets are large, about the size of Neptune — between 13 and 25 Earth masses —with orbital periods ranging from between six and 600 days. The planets’ distances from the star ranges from 0.06 and 1.4 times the Earth–Sun distance.

The first five were most comparable to Neptune.They are made essentially of rocks and ice. They have a solid core. But on top of that is a layer of gas, of hydrogen and helium.The sixth is possibly a Saturn-like planet, while the seventh, the smallest, would be so close to its star that its “year’’ would take just over a day.

Scientists used the observatory’s 11.8 foot telescope at La Silla, Chile, to study the planets’ parent star, known as HD 10180. Over six years, they took 190 measurements, checking the star for the telltale wobbling caused by the gravitational forces of nearby planets.

The find was made by researchers from Switzerland, France, Germany, and Portugal and has been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Space pictures taken from garden shed

An amateur stargazer has stunned astronomers around the world with his photographs of the universe – taken from his garden shed.

Amateur astronomer Peter Shah who has taken astonishing shots of  the universe from his garden shed

Amateur astronomer Peter Shah who has taken astonishing shots of the universe from his garden shed Photo: WALES NEWS SERVICE

Peter Shah, 38, cut a hole in the roof of his wooden shed and set up his modest eight-inch telescope inside. After months of patiently waiting for the right moment he emerged with a series of striking images of the Milky Way.

His photographs of a vivid variety of star clusters light years from Earth have been compared to the images taken from the £2.5 billion Hubble space telescope.

But it cost Mr Shah just £20,000 to equip his garden shed with a telescope linked to his home computer. He said: “Most men like to potter about in their garden shed – but mine is a bit more high tech than most.

“I have fitted it with a sliding roof so I can sit in comfort and look at the heavens. I have a very modest set up but it just goes to show that a window to the universe is there for all of us – even with the smallest budgets.

“I had to be patient and take the images over a period of several months because the skies in Britain are often clouded over and you need clear conditions.”

Office worker Mr Shah, who lives in a hillside bungalow at Meifod, near Welshpool, Powys, has been an avid astronomer since his mother bought him a £5 telescope when he was seven.

Images in his collection include the Monkey’s head nebula, M33 Pinwheel Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy and the Flaming Star Nebula.

The superb photos, each made up of about 30 frames, are being published in a new book entitled Mirror Image. Mr Shah’s wife Lisa has supported him through his long nights of stargazing – supplying endless cups of coffee.

His images have been brought together for the first time in a book called Mirror Image. Images from the book and other photographs can be viewed at http://www.astropix.co.uk