Interstellar Travel: Hawking aims for Alpha Centauri

In the announcement of the most ambitious space exploration project yet Prof. Stephen Hawking set out a plan, with financial backing from investors such as Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerberg, to send a spacecraft to our neighbouring star in the coming decades. The proposal named ‘Breakthrough Starshot’, sees a $100 million investment in the development…

Looking at the Dark Matter World

Hi readers of Physics Horizon. It has been a few months since there was the last news post! The reason for this is I have been working hard on my 4th year at University. I hope to be able to bring you more regular news in the coming weeks and I am really glad that…

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014

This years international astronomy photographers have been chosen by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Below are the winners of each category, see more at the Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2014/sep/18/astronomy-photographer-year-2014-royal-observatory-greenwich-pictures Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon James Woodend (UK), Earth & Space: winner and overall winner Hybrid Solar Eclipse 2 Eugen Kamenew (Germany), People & Space: winner The Horsehead Nebula…

Undergraduate Life: Comet hunting!

A short post following on from yesterdays article regarding the Rosetta mission. At the University of Birmingham we last year installed a half metre Ritchey-Chretein Cassegrain telescope in our observatory. During the last year since it’s introduction I have taken part in a few memorable earlier morning observing trips. I though I would post some…

Scientists on Strike!

At 5000 meters above sea level in a Chilean desert sits the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). This array consists of 66 radio telescope dishes and was officially opened in March 2013.  This marvel of technology has already peered through cosmic dust clouds in the milky way to observe planet formation and distant galaxies. However…

Milky Way has a Dark Matter deficit?

A new set of galactic formation simulations has suggested that our Milky Way could actually contain only 1/4 to a 1/3 of the previously accepted quantity of Dark Matter. When scientists observe other spiral galaxies in the Universe one property which is commonly investigated is how the rotational velocity of the stars is related to…

Perseids meteor shower lights up the sky

If you have happened to look up in the sky tonight you may have more than likely seen a beautiful ‘shooting star’. This is the Perseids meteor shower and is actually due to the earth moving into the orbit path of a comet called Swift-Tuttle. Debris that has fallen off trails behind the comet and…

Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition winner

A new exhibition has opened up at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London which displays the winner and runners up of the competition. The winner in 2012 was taken by Martin Pugh of the Whirlpool Galaxy known in the Messier catalogue as M51. The competition was open up to all astrophotographers, judged by Sir Patrick Moore and others. This image of…