The portion of the sky the Hubble Space Telescope is currently looking at is full of planets both big and small
Astronomy News – One of the greatest things about being an astronomer is the excitement of mystery and wonder you feel every time you discover something you never even suspected. This must have been the feeling running through the minds of astronomers looking at the data provided by the Hubble Space Telescope indicating the presence of planets around distant stars. The rush of adrenalin as they went over the data they had worked and waited for must have been truly euphoric.
What kind of planets would they find? Smaller rocky worlds like Earth, larger gas planets like Jupiter, or some unusual planet never before dreamed of. All of their hard work and dedication to the task-at-hand is about to open a door of discovery to worlds of wonder. Worlds with environments unlike anything we have experienced on Earth, where life we could never envision might have evolved. This is why astronomers spend countless days, weeks, months and ultimately lives studying the sky above our heads.
Astronomers see a sky full of planets
The small portion of the sky being studied by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope is full of planets. Some appear to be of a similar rocky composition to our home planet while others appear to be totally inhospitable to Earth-type life. Planets like Earth are thought to be mainly composed of rocky material, which is denser and thus heavier than the materials making up gas planets. The planets being found orbiting stars in the portion of the sky being surveyed by Hubble are helping to rewrite planet formation theory and other areas of astronomical study. Astronomers are finding planets of types they were expecting to find, and a few they weren’t expecting to see.
The first planets found by the Hubble Space Telescope were large gas giants, like Jupiter and Saturn, but more recent finds have included planets similar in size and possible composition to Earth. Astronomers want to study Earth-like planets in an effort to uncover more secrets concerning the birth of our own solar system and the planet, which could give us clues to the development and evolution of Earth-like life in our universe. More recent developments even include the first direct imaging of a planet orbiting a distant star.
The truly amazing part is Hubble is only surveying a portion of the sky with around 100,000 suns and we’re finding more and more planets as astronomers continue to refine their planet finding techniques and instruments. Once we extrapolate and calculate the number of possible planets, using the available data so far gathered, we find the number of possible planets to be beyond count.
Astronomers will use the James Webb Space Telescope to journey to the beginning of space and time
During the 2013 human space odyssey, astronomers explored a portion of the night sky with the Hubble Space Telescope and exclaimed. It’s full of planets! In the years ahead during the human journey to the beginning of space and time, we expect astronomers to discover undreamed-of worlds, revolving around suns we humans can’t even conceive of. Especially once the James Webb Space Telescope comes online we should expect to visit undreamed of planets.
Best to buckle your seatbelt and prepare for the ride of your life! The human journey to the beginning of space and time is about to take off to planets beyond imagination. In the months and years ahead we expect to visit worlds with environments we would find inhospitable at best. Worlds where human survival would be doubtful and any life we found would be unusual beyond imagination.
Click this link to watch a YouTube video on weird planets in the universe.
The human journey to the beginning of space and time begins
Astronomers watch the greatest show on Earth every night
Astronomy News ( 2013-10-15) – Walk out to the darkest star viewing spot you can find at dusk and take a seat, “The greatest show on Earth is about to begin!” Lay back on your cold seat and you become lost-in-space as you stare upwards at one of the first sights to greet human consciousness onto the stage upon awakening during the distant past. Close your eyes and let your mind boldly fly off into the night sky in search of new lands of promise warmed by alien suns. Stand upon undreamed landscapes straight out of the Twilight Zone and record ideas and thoughts that could alter the course of human history and open up avenues to undreamed of events. Human beings have looked skyward in wonder and awe for thousands of years and dreamed of voyaging to the lights in the night sky. Today humans dream of traveling to the nearest star in our sky and standing on alien landscapes which will alter human beings as a race and create history unlike anything dreamed of by science fiction writers.
Will human adventures travel across outer space to distant suns in search of answers to questions pondered throughout human history? Will human beings one day journey through the universe seeking the origins of human life or a suitable planet to call home? As Mr. Roddenberry points out, space will be one of the last frontiers of humankind. At the current rate of technological growth, it could be only a matter of time before human beings have the ability to travel across interstellar space looking for non-terrestrial life and the resources humans need to survive and prosper.
Space Exploration will be far more challenging than life on earth
Traveling across the vast stretches of outer space between Earth and a nearby star system will be far more challenging and dangerous to undertake then climbing the tallest mountain or sailing an unexplored ocean. The distances in both space and time involved in such voyages will require human beings to surmount technological and social obstacles unlike any experienced during life on planet Earth. During the past century, humans have designed and engineered mechanized devices capable of launching into outer space and crossed the short stellar distance between Earth and its moon. We have started to become acquainted with life-in-space and the challenges involved in space travel. During the next fifty years, mankind will travel into the solar system and start to develop the technology required to successfully travel to nearby star systems to begin life again under an alien sun.
Does mankind presently have the technology, will power, and resources to journey to a nearby star system? The answer at this point in human history is a realistic and resounding, “No!” Using a reaction engine similar to the liquid oxygen/hydrogen main engine of the space shuttle to travel to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, would require over 100 years and fuel tanks too big to carry. Nuclear powered propulsion using fusion or fission requires technology and radiation shielding presently unavailable in order for human beings to survive the journey. Doctors also have questions concerning the possible medical problems associated with long-term exposure to acceleration and deep space radiation, and the drag forces involved using this form of propulsion still have to be addressed. The often dreamed of, but at this point unrealized, warp drive will probably never make it off the pages of science fiction books and into the cold of deep space. Instead, it will be replaced by an undreamed of propulsion system allowing us to travel closer to the speed of light, or circumvent the universe’s speed limit using a new idea, yet to be conceived.
If mankind made traveling to the nearest star system the top priority during the years ahead what would be needed to make the journey a success? The answer to this question continues to change as scientists and engineers study the goal more. The closest alien sun to Earth is the Red Dwarf Proxima Centauri, which on average is the short stellar distance of just 4.22 light-years (24.7 trillion miles or 29.9 km) away. Traveling at the estimated speed of Voyager 1, around 37,000 mph, it would take a spaceship over 76,000 years to complete the journey. During this length of time, human beings would have long enough to evolve significantly in the new and alien environment of deep space. Would we recognize our human ancestors after 76,000 years evolving during a trip through outer space?
Proxima Centauri also has no known planets upon which humans could begin life again under an alien sun. This Red Dwarf star is also significantly cooler than our own sun, so the habitability of any existing alien worlds would be questionable at best. Optimistic humans point out that Proxima Centauri is part of a bigger star system, containing other possible candidates which could have habitable planets. This dim star is considered by many to be part of the bigger Alpha Centauri system, which includes the binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B, just 4.4 light-years from Earth. Astronomers and scientists have their doubts about the possibility of other habitable planets in this star system at this point. Instead, they point to star systems further out in deep space, which seem to offer a better possibility of habitable planets.
The stars can’t wait
If humans move to a new home circling an alien sun, we’ll do it in stages, beginning with the exploration of the solar system. The International Space Station will be the staging point for the next phase of the exploration of the solar system. From here we can reach outward into the solar system to see what mysteries and discoveries await us just beyond the visible horizon. We’ll need time to develop the technology required for interstellar space travel and the terraforming of alien worlds. In the meantime, we’ll continue to send out envoys and ambassadors in the form of unmanned spacecraft to nearby star systems within our reach. The first of these envoys of the human race, Voyager 1, has traveled a distance of around 11 billion miles during 35 years of continuous space travel. This puts Voyager 1 still firmly within the boundaries of the known solar system, which reaches some 4.6 trillion miles into cold space and the Oort Cloud on the fringes of our system of planets. Eventually, Voyager 1 will travel beyond the boundaries of the solar system and into interstellar space, and this is when the real human journey to the beginning of space and time begins.
Click this link to watch a YouTube video on the search for earth-like planets.
Human beings were designed to view the universe using two eyes
Astronomical binoculars are a time-machine-to-the-stars that will make your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” a trip of a lifetime. The views you’ll experience during your journey will blow-your-mind using two eyes, rather than one, and you’ll return from your trip with tales of space and time your astronomy buddies will envy. The Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope’s 100mm aperture helps to create bright, high-contrast 90 degree views of the universe at 24x magnification, using included 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces, that both your eyes will love.
Astronomical binocular telescope with amazing image quality
A 4-inch refractor that accepts standard 1 1/4 eyepieces that are focused individually for optimal performance, the Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope features an all-metal body, fully multicoated achromatic objective lenses, Porro prisms made of BaK-4 glass, and removable eyepieces. Just mount your two-eyed time-machine-to-the-stars on a sturdy heavy-duty tripod, which isn’t included, slip the 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces into place in the integrated 90 degree prism assemblies, and blast-off from the Earth and “Journey to the beginning of Space and Time” to experience the wonders of the universe through two eyes.
Blast off to the stars with the Orion BT100 Binocular telescope
Flip the switch on your Meade LS-6 and being your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”
Astronomy Products – Just set up your time-machine-to-the-stars, flick the ignition switch, and your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” begins. Incorporating GPS satellites, internal leveling sensors, a magnetic north compass, and a built-in ECLIPS CCD imager capable of displaying vibrant astroimages on the scope or filing them away so you can send them to all of your astronomy buddies, later, the Meade LS-6 ACF Telescope includes the industry’s most advanced go-to astronomy system, for truly hands-free star-gazing.
Flick the switch, connect to GPS
The Light Switch Technology included with the Meade LS-6 go-to telescope goes to work with the flick of the switch, turning over the job of connecting the global positioning system with overhead satellites to a built-in Integrated Sensor Module (ISM). The global positioning system pinpoints the exact location and local time of your time-machine-to-the-stars on the planet’s surface and then the Level North Technology sensors silently search for two alignment stars and automatically start charting out a real-time sky map of the night sky in its memory banks for the present time and your location on the Earth’s surface.
The perfect telescope for the educated amateur astronomer heading out into the universe for their first “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”. The Meade LS-6 will automatically take you to points in space and time you’ll never forget and you can take a few pictures of your unforgettable views to show your friends, when you get back.
Perfect telescope for both amateur and professional astronomers
Experienced astronomers will love not having to remember the name of alignment stars or having to worry about the view being blocked by a tree or house, which can be frustrating and time-consuming to solve. The Meade LS-6 go-to telescope solves these problems and gives you more time for what you really want to do, “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”.
A lightweight and portable observatory you can set up anywhere
Astronomy Products – Kendrick Astro Instruments has been in the business of selling some of the top observer tents in the world for years. Stargazers love the ease of use and set up of Kendrick observer tents, but nothing is perfect, and Kendrick has been listening to its customers. Measuring 10 feet wide by 15 feet long and 6.5 feet high at the center, Kendrick Astro Instruments Stargate Observer Tent is the latest edition to Kendrick’s line of observer tents introduced a decade ago. Still including everything you loved about Kendrick’s original Observatory Tent, the new Kendrick Astro Instruments Stargate Observer Tent has been redesigned to include two separate rooms, one for you to continue your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time, and another for sleeping away the hours, separated by a polyester wall.
Great for the amateur or professional astronomer
You set up your time-machine-to-the-stars in the 10 foot x 9 foot star-gazing room, and then you and your weary-eyed stargazing companion sleep away the hours of the day in the smaller 10 foot x 6-foot sleeping area. Once the sun goes down and the stars appear in the night sky, you simply head into your observatory and unzip the 6-foot-wide observing flap, and continue your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” in perfect comfort. Once you return from your adventure, simply close the observing flap, cover your telescope, and move into the next room for some well-deserved rest.
Grab Kendrick Astro Instrument’s Stargate Observer Tent and let your journey to the beginning of space and time continue
Astronomy Products – Laser collimators are indispensable tools for aligning the optics of your time-machine-to-the-stars, but many laser collimators of the past had an inherent weakness in which the collimator wasn’t centered in the focuser. This often caused a small gap to exist between the collimator and the focuser’s drawtube, no matter how precise the machining of the collimator’s barrel. HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators have solved this problem using a Self-Centering Adapter (SCA) using rubber compression rings that expand evenly against the drawtube and center the collimator perfectly straight in the focuser.
Innovations in design and function
A clever idea that works by using three perfectly aligned laser beams to simulate the parallel rays coming from a distant star, HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators work great for quickly aligning the optics of your time-machine-to-the-stars. Stargazers using Ritchey-Chretien, Dall-Kirkham, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes can quickly, efficient and reliably prepare their telescope to continue their “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”, using the only effective method known to collimate their time-machines-to-the-stars.
HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators allow users to perform collimation indoors or outdoors, day or night, using a clear and simple to read display located within a short focal distance of the telescope for diagnosing alignment problems with a telescope optical systems without guess-work. Avoid the frustration of moving between the front and back of your telescope adjusting the corresponding alignment screw, while holding your breath and looking through a high magnification eyepiece trying to reference the concentricity of an image out of focus with HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators. You’ll have more time for viewing the universe and taking the unforgettable Astro images you really did all of this work for.
Stargazers Halloween treats abound in autumn’s night sky
Winter treat for the lonely wanderer
Astronomy news (2013-10-15) – Cassiopeia the Queen is one of the first northern deep sky objects we’ll view during our “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”. Cassiopeia the Queen is easily recognizable in autumn’s night sky using her characteristic W or M shape form and she was one of the 48 constellations originally listed by the 2nd-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy during his observations of the night sky. Today, Cassiopeia the Queen is one of 88 constellations recognized by modern stargazers in the night sky, and the abundance of magnificent open star clusters within her arms provides viewers with a chance to see a variety of outstanding celestial objects that have been entertaining stargazers for thousands of years.
Cassiopeia the Queen is a familiar sight for modern astronomers and stargazers in the mid-northern latitudes of planet Earth and is often one of the first constellations in the northern sky beginning stargazers journey to view. Board your time-machine-to-the-stars near the end of October, or the beginning of November, and take the family on a journey through time and space to visit Cassiopeia the Queen. A visit with Cassiopeia the Queen will open a child’s mind to the possibilities of the universe, before them, and your wife will be able to tell her friends that you took her out last night.
Both astronomers and ancient navigators used Cassiopeia as a guide to finding their way
One of the best open star clusters you can view with the naked eye is 6.5 magnitude NGC 129, a large, bright, open cluster of stars 8×50 astronomical binoculars will reveal to have six to twelve brighter stars nestled within the collective glow of a field of stars too faint to resolve using binoculars. You should see about 35 celestial bodies in this region of space and time 5,200 light years distant from your position on the Earth. Look toward the north of two 9th magnitude stars, near the center of NGC 129, and you’ll find the Cepheid variable DL Cassiopeiae. DL Cassiopeiae will fluctuate between 8.6 and 9.3 magnitudes, over the course of an eight-day cycle.
The central star in Cassiopeia’s characteristic W is Gamma Cassiopeiae, a prototype for a class of irregular variable stars believed to be rapidly spinning type-B celestial bodies often fluctuating by as much as magnitude 1.5 or more, Gamma Cassiopeiae will flicker between 2.2 and 3.4 magnitudes as you watch her nightly dance and this star at maximum brightness outshines both Alpha Cassiopeiae and Beta Cassiopeiae. Astronomers believe these apparent fluctuations are due to a decretion disk around this star resulting from the rapid spinning of the star, which results in some of the star’s mass forming a decretion disk. Gamma Cassiopeiae is also a spectroscopic binary star with an orbital period of about 204 days and astronomers believe Gamma Cassiopeiae’s companion star is about the same relative mass as Sol. Part of a small group of stellar sources in the night sky that beam X-ray radiation about 10 times higher than the X-rays emitted from other type-B stars across the cosmos, Gamma Cassiopeiae exhibits both short-term and long-term cycles of x-ray emission. Stargazers should also be able to view Gamma Cassiopeiae as an optical double star, with a faint magnitude 11 companion star, about 2 arcseconds distant from Gamma Cassiopeiae.
Chinese astronomers studied Gamma Cassiopeiae
Ancient stargazers in China called Gamma Cassiopeiae Tsih, which loosely translates as “the whip”, but no references have been found in Arabic or Latin texts of Gamma Cassiopeiae being referred to using a different name. Modern stargazers refer to Gamma Cassiopeiae by a number of different designations, including 27 Cassiopeiae, HR 264, HD 5394, and others. Modern astronauts often use Gamma Cassiopeiae as a star guide because it’s a relatively bright celestial object and in previous space missions this star was used as an easily recognizable navigational reference point in the night sky.
Astronomers note two Messier objects
M103 (NGC 581) is the first of two Messier objects in Cassiopeia’s arms viewable through a six-inch time-machine-to-the-stars and should appear as about three dozen stars grouped in a triangular area 6′ across. A fairly compact open cluster, M103 will be 1 degree east of Delta Cassiopeiae, and is the left bottom star of Cassiopeia’s characteristic W shape marking her throne in the night sky. Pierre Mechain was first given credit for seeing this open cluster in the night sky in 1781. Stargazers using 8×50 binoculars will see about 25 magnitude 10 or fainter stars in their view and a string of four stars immediately to M103’s southeast, which adds to the beauty of viewing M103, significantly.
The second Messier object in Cassiopeia cataloged by Messier is M52 (NGC 7654), you can locate M52 by drawing a line from Alpha Cassiopeiae through Beta Cassiopeiae, and then extending your line an equal distance to M52. An 8-inch time-machine-to-the-stars will reveal about 75 stars in the night sky clumped in various patterns along the edge of the Milky Way that aren’t lost among the background points of light behind these stars. One of the richest open clusters in Cassiopeia’s arms and north of the celestial equator, Messier made note of M52 in his catalog in 1774. This open cluster will appear as a nebulous mass of about 100 stars in 8×50 astronomical binoculars, with a few individual stars that you can resolve a little better. Stargazers looking for a little extra should look to the north of M52 to find Harrington 12, a wide triangular looking asterism containing about a dozen 5th to 9th magnitude stars, which will appear spectacular in low-power astronomical binoculars.
The Owl spreads its wings
Journey less than 3 degrees south of Delta Cassiopeiae to find the spectacular Owl Cluster (NGC 457), a celestial object ancient stargazers could plainly see in the north night sky, the Owl Cluster’s wings will be clearly viewable using a 4-inch time-machine-to-the-stars. Stargazers can also locate Delta Cassiopeiae by using 5th magnitude Phi Cassiopeiae and 7th magnitude HD 7902, which lie to the southeast of the Owl Cluster. The Own’s eastern wing is a line of four bright stars while the western wing is composed of two pairs of stars arranged in a long rectangle. The brightest star in the Owl Cluster will shine at 8.6 magnitude and will appear a little orange in color to star gazers.
An essential focusing tool for your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”
Focusing your telescope
Astronomy Products – One of the toughest things to achieve when trying to take timeless pictures during your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” will be getting a sharp focus on your time-machine-to-the-stars. Professional astronomers and amateur astronomers in-the-know will use a focusing mask over the front of their time-machine-to-the-stars, rather than relying on trial and error to take pictures of unforgettable views during their trip to the stars.
One of the best and easiest to use and setup face masks on the market is the Bahtinov face-mask sold by Focus-Mask. Simply aim your time-machine-to-the-stars toward the star of your hearts desire, take a short 3 to 5-second exposure of your target, and then take a look at the three diffraction spikes on the Bahtinov face-mask. Adjust the focus on your time-machine-to-the-stars, take another 3 to 5-second exposure of your target, and once again examine the diffraction spikes. Continue this process until the middle diffraction spike lies directly between the other two spikes and you should be ready to take a shot of your hearts desire your kids will never forget.
Make sure you take your Bahtinov Focus mask with you
Before you head out on the next leg of your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” grab a Bahtinov face-mask or another face-mask, and your view and astrophotography will improve significantly, and you’ll have more time for timeless views, rather than spending time trying to focus your time-machine-to-the-stars.
Take a journey backward in space and time to a moment distant beyond your imagination
Great engineering, timeless design and innovative ideas
Astronomy Products – Explore Scientific is one of the new boys on the eyepiece manufacturing block, with both wide field eyepieces and several fine telescopes perfect for young and old amateur star gazers looking for a usable and reliable time-machine-to-the-stars for their “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”.
Explore Scientific’s 3.15-inch (80mm) f/6 Triplet ED Apochromatic Refractor is built around a triple objective, features a 2-inch dual-speed Crayford focuser, a 8×50 correct-image finder scope, a 2-inch star diagonal with a 1 1/4-inch adapter, and a dovetail mounting plate for securing your time-machine-to-the-stars to many of the most popular alt-azimuth mounts being sold today. The perfect setup for your journey to the stars and one sure to provide you with endless views of space and time you’ll never forget.
Your spaceship to the stars is waiting at your local telescope shop
Explore the universe using a nitrogen-purged eyepiece
The right equipment makes viewing the universe easier
Astronomy Products – The right eyepiece for your time-machine-to-the-stars can make the difference between memorable views during your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”, and less than perfect views due to the fact you don’t have the equipment that to observe the universe. Explore Scientific is a new kid on the eyepiece manufacturing block, but the 20mm eyepiece of their 100 Series of eyepieces is quickly gaining fame for producing timeless views of space and time. Similar in many ways to Explore Scientific’s 9mm and 14mm offerings, the 20mm version of the 100 Series features enhanced optical coatings inside a barrel that has been purged with nitrogen and then sealed against the elements. A watertight barrel is a necessity when out in the wild as it will prevent fog from developing inside the barrel as the temperature goes down outside and consequently inside the barrel of the eyepiece. At the same time sealing the barrel against the elements keeps dust and fungus from contaminating the eyepiece and ruining your view of the universe.