Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chapter 9 content overview, more to be added.

Chapter 9 Summary

So here we have a look through our knowledge of space in the 20th century and some key discoveries… More to be added and revised – week by week we are breaking down content as there is such much to condense….

Major milestones

1926 Liquid fueled rockets

1927 Ooort began to use pulsating stars as distance indicators so we were able to know our position within the Milky Way (the centre of the Milky Way is in the constellation Sagittarius.

The Oort cloud (named after the man himself… is possibly the source of all comets.

1930 Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto – later to be declassified

Karl Jansky in 1931 experimented with radio waves and was able to discover waves coming from the centre of the galaxy (it is actually possible to detect Jupiter with a handheld radio!

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, discovered cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964.

Fritz Zwicky began looking at clusters of stars more closely and the speed at which they travelled and put forward the theory of dark matter (invisible matter)

1957 Sputnik (Russia)
1958 Explorer 1 (USA)
1966 Lunar probe Surveyor 1
1969 First man on the moon
1990 Hubble landed
1998 Dark energy discovered by 2 different supernova teams

(Possibly not mentioned again as covered in another chapter…)

Discovery of exo planets
The fact that galaxies have Black holes
Dark Matter

Main discoveries that will be mentioned…


Quasars are highly luminous star like objects, thought to be the most remote and furthest objects in the universe. So bright are they that the light they emit can be seen over a distance of 12 billion light years!

Dark Matter

Dark matter is an invisible matter that is thought to make up 90% of our universe, detected only by using gravitation, as it emits no radiation or light!

Black hole

A black hole is an area in space caused by compacted mass, not even light can escape its clutches! Theories today suggest that these holes are caused by the collapse of a star at the end of its life cycle.

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

1964 – Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered cosmic microwave background radiation that radiates all through the universe space, and is believed to be leftover from when the universe initially began

Exo Planets

Scientists believe in their existence for many years but it wasn’t until 1995 that they were able to prove that they were in fact out there somewhere!



Space Station

Space station nearly completed in Illustrator, it’s pretty difficult to get it to resemble the actual station as the photos vary and there are no tutorials available…
Alot harder than anticipated:-(
Anyway it still needs a little tweaking on the set up and colouring! Not sure about the Grey gradients, very slight alterations still to be made.



This week I concentrated on building contacts within the astronomy field.

Numerous lengthy and individual emails were sent out to experts providing an overview of our group project as well as an outline of what each chapter would cover.

Obviously we ourselves are not experts in this field (although we should be close to it with the amount of research done!!!) so it was explained that we are mere enthusiasts that have never formally studied this field, and would these experts be so good as to look over our material and provide guidance and feedback. We have asked if our timeline of events is correct and adequate and also if any key events have been missed…

The plan is to not only have our research verified as correct, but also to possibly arrange a meeting with an astronomy group and visit an observatory. Once our website is up and running we will hopefully be able to arrange permission to post external links and possibly have relevant societies link to our site!!!!

Contacted via email:

South Dublin Astronomy

Irish Astronomical Society

Astronomy Ireland

Dunsink Observatory – Dublin

Hilary O’Donnell

Professor M.E. Bailey director of Armagh Observatory

Professor Paul Callanan, – Department of Physics, University College Cork,

Prof. Greg Hughes
Head of Physics at Dublin city university

Professor Lorraine Hanlon
UCD School of Physics
Science Centre (North)
Belfield, Dublin 4

Dr. Peter Gallagher Physics & Astrophysics Course Director
Trinity College, Dublin

Queen’s University Belfast
Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences Division
Dr Alan Fitzsimmons

Pamela L Gay contacted via facebook. An American astronomer and author of lengthy podcasts we have been listening to…
This site belongs to an Irish enthusiast – contacted via a form on his website.

Also contacted were the Public Communications and Inquiries Management Office
in NASA Headquarters



Our project is going show how we gained our knowledge of the universe and how our perception was changing. I tried to look at our 10 chapters as at one piece telling a story. We are at the stage where we are collecting materials for every chapter. It really hard task, as this topic is very extended and we need to choose the most important pieces of information. I can compare writing scripts for our chapters to writing a book. Anyway we changed the names of our 10 chapters:

1.  Theories on the Origin of the Universe – Understanding of the heavens and earth

2.  Ancient Astronomers  – from myths to origins of scientific astronomy

3. The age of Greeks – masters of Astronomy

4. The Renaissance part 1 –  big steps in the exploration of the design of the Universe

5. The Renaissance part 2

6. What comes next i.e. the beginning of modern astronomy

7. Hubble discoveries – pivotal point in the odyssey in the history of human thought

8. That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind – the age of space exploration

9. Recent discoveries – revealing the Universe’s mysteries

10. Theories about the future – The Great Unknown



My recent discovery: pod-casts about History of Astronomy. Perfect source of info for our project! I have listened to them all and I think they are very interesting. I can say that this is generally what we want to do – showing how human thought has progressed.

I was impressed of detailed knowledge of Dr Pamela L. Gay from Southern Illinois University. For me she is an expert in this field so we are going to contact her. I hope she will find time to reply..

There are links to all 5 episodes (half an hour each!)


Space ship Discovery prepares for its last flight

The space shuttle Discovery was moved out of its hanger on for the last time on the evening of January 31. This will be the last time the shuttle will go into orbit before its retirement. The launch is set to take place on the 24th of February at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The STS-133 mission will see the shuttle crew deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Express Logistics Carrier 4, as well as the first human-like robot in space, Robonaut 2 and provide critical spare components to the International Space Station.

The ISS is something we are currently animating at the moment and hope to have it finished an incorporated into our site within the week.



International Space Station

Currently trying to create a realistic looking space station in Illustrator! I’m not as familiar with the vector tools so it’s taking a while to get there!

I compiled a selection of images to use as a reference first…

International Space Station

Just trying to figure out how to make the smaller pieces…