The information on astronomy is provided here to give a better understanding of the universe in contrast to the universe presented in the Bible. This will give a better appreciation tho the true ‘Creator’, if there is one, instead of the Gods of the Bible, Talmud and Koran. Keep this information in mind as you read this page. In astronomy distance is measured in light years. This should give you an idea of how expansive the universe as we know it is.
A light-year or lightyear (symbol: ly) is a unit of measurement of length, specifically the distance light travels in a vacuum in one year. While there is no authoritative decision on which year is used, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) recommends the Julian year.
A light-year is equal to:
- 9,460,730,472,580.8 km (about 9.461 Pm)
- 5,878,625,373,183.61 statute miles
- about 63,240 astronomical units
- about 0.3066 parsecs
(A light year is approximately 6 trillion miles. So when you read that the distance from us (earth) to a galaxy or celestial body is 28 million light years you have to multiply 28 by 6 trillion to get the distance. Conversely, light from that object has traveled through space for a period of 28 million years to reach us. Hope that helps to conceptualize it.)
Take a good look a the following pictures and enjoy them. At the end I will ask you a question which you should try and answer honestly. In the mean time, enjoy them.
Hubble Telescope’s top ten greatest space photographs
1. The Sombrero Galaxy
28 million light years from Earth – was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.
2. The Ant Nebula
A cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes. The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.
3. In third place is Nebula NGC 2392
Called Eskimo because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.
4. The Cat’s Eye Nebula
5. The Hourglass Nebula
8,000 light years away, has a pinched-in-the-middle look because the winds that shape it are weaker at the centre.
6. The Cone Nebula
The part pictured here is 2.5 light years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return trips to the Moon).
7. The Perfect Storm
A small region in the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away, described as ‘a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of oxygen, sulphur and other elements’.
8. Starry Night
So named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.
9. The glowering eyes
From 114 million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant Canis Major constellation.
10. The Trifid Nebula
A ‘stellar nursery , ‘ 9,000 light years from here, it is where new stars are being born.
There are billions of such galaxies containing billions of stars. How long do you think it took to form these beautiful cellestial objects? Billions of years or one 24-hour day on day 4 of of biblical creation?
Some Useful Information about Our Universe
We know from studies of radioactivity of the Earth and Sun that our solar system probably formed about 4.5 billions years ago, which means that the Universe must be at least twice that old, because before our solar system formed, our Milky Way galaxy had to form, and that probably took several billions years by itself.
It would be reasonable to guess that the Universe is at least twice as old as our Sun and Earth. However, we can’t do radioactive dating on distant stars and galaxies. The best we can do is balance a lot of different measurements of the brightness and distance of stars and the red shifting of their light to come up with some ballpark figure. The oldest star clusters whose age we can estimate are about 12 to 15 billions years old. So it seems safe to estimate that the age of the Universe is at least 15 billion years old, but probably not more than 20 billion years old.
This matter is far from being settled by astrophysicists and cosmologists, so stay tuned. There could be radical new developments in the future.
- Source: http://superstringtheory.com/cosmo/cosmo1.html
We can observe only a portion of the entire universe. Because the universe is only about 14 billion years old, light has only had about 14 billion years to travel through it. Therefore, the most distant regions of the universe we can see are about 14 billion light-years away. This is the extent of the “observable universe,” but the entire universe is probably much larger. It could even extend infinitely in all directions.
Our Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way Galaxy The Milky Way’s Center
Credit: NASA, Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) Project
Explanation: NASA’s COBE satellite scanned the heavens at infrared wavelengths in 1990 and produced this premier view of the central region of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is a typical spiral galaxy with a central bulge and extended disk of stars. However, gas and dust within the disk obscure visible wavelengths of light effectively preventing clear observations of the center.
Since infrared wavelengths, are less affected by the obscuring material, the Diffuse InfraRed Background Experiment (DIRBE) on board COBE was able to detected infrared light from stars surrounding the galactic center and produce this image. Of course, the edge on perspective represents the view from the vicinity of our Sun, a star located in the disk about 30,000 light years out from the center.
The DIRBE experiment used equipment cooled by a tub of liquid helium to detect the infrared light which, composed of wavelengths longer than red light, is invisible to the human eye.