Visions of the Cosmos

Life Among the Stars

External Links to Other Web-sites


Open Age is  help to anyone over 50.  It providers so many opportunities for retired people to participate in many activities.  For details go to their web-site

The author of this web-site would like to thank the friendly staff of open age who have so helped me with the technical production of this web-site.  


European Space Agency (ESA). 

The European Space Agency is among the foremost organisations in the world for the investigation of the planets and our star the Sun.   It has undertaken some of the most exciting and important space missions at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first including the landing on Titan, the Mars Express, the Venus Express, the SOHO project for the investigation of the Sun to mention only a few important missions.  Most recently it has launched two important space telescopes - The Henschel and the Plank.  It collaborates very closely with the other space agencies including the American NASA, the Russian, the Chinese and the Japanese space projects.  It designs satellites for other nations who have not yet developed their own specific space organisations.  It has a most informative web-site and a really excellent multimedia library which is unsurpassed on the internet.  

The European Space Agency has a number of centres.  One of them at Noordwyk in the Netherlands close to the coast. Apart from its role as a scientific experimental center holds conferences throughout the year.  It is these pleasant surroundings that scientists from all over the world meet to discuss the progress of their work.  The photograph on the left show the main entrance to the ESTEC Building.  The photograph on the right shows delegates going into the Conference on Cratering in the Solar System held in May 2006

ESA COROT Mission.   Details of the COROT Mission are described in the Extra-solar planets section of this web-site.  Fuller details are given in the ESA web-site.  There are problems with DIRECT linkage but site can be accessed via ESA homepage.                                                                            

European Southern Observatory (ESO) 

Visit the pages of the Paranal siteVisit the pages of the La Silla siteVisit ESO General Information and Services pagesVisit the ESO Santiago Web Site

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental European Science and Technology organisation in the field of ground-based astrophysics. It is supported by eleven countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Spain is expected to join the organisation in 2006. Further countries have expressed interest in membership. ESO operates astronomical observatories in the Atacama Desert in Chile and its headquarters is in Garching near Munich, Germany

ESO operates at several sites in the Atacama desert region of Chile. The first site is at a 2400 m high mountain called La Silla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile. It is equipped with several optical telescopes with mirror diameters of up to 3.6 metres. The 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) was the first in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror

Whilst La Silla remains one of the scientifically most productive observing sites in the world, the 2600 m high Paranal Site with the Very Large Telescope array (VLT) is the flagship facility of European astronomy. 

The VLT is a most unusual telescope, based on the latest technology. It is not just one, but an array of four telescopes, each with a main mirror of 8.2-m diameter. With one such telescope, images of celestial objects as faint as magnitude 30 have been obtained in a one-hour exposure. This corresponds to seeing objects that are four billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye.

One of the most exciting features of the VLT is the possibility to use it as a giant optical interferometer This is done by combining the light from several of the telescopes, including one or more of four 1.8-m moveable Auxiliary Telescopes, three of which are now in operation. In the interferometric mode, one can reach the resolution on the sky that would be obtained with a telescope of the size of the separation between the most distant of the combined mirrors.

ESO has plans to build even larger telescopes in the future such as the 100 metre OWL (Overwhelmingly Large Telescope).

One future priject which is already underway is the ALMA project in conjunction with Japan and North America

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), one of the largest ground-based astronomy projects of the next decade, is a major new facility for world astronomy. ALMA will be comprised of a giant array of 12-m submillimetre quality antennas, with baselines of several kilometres. An additional, compact array of 7-m and 12-m antennas is also foreseen. Construction of ALMA started in 2003 and will be completed in 2010. The ALMA project is an international collaboration between Europe, Japan and North America

The Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), one of the largest ground-based astronomy projects of the next decade, is a major new facility for world astronomy. ALMA will be comprised of a giant array of 12-m submillimetre quality antennas, with baselines of several kilometres. An additional, compact array of 7-m and 12-m antennas is also foreseen. Construction of ALMA started in 2003 and will be completed in 2012; it will become incrementally operational from 2010 on. ALMA is located on the high-altitude Llano de Chajnantor (5000 m elevation), east of the village of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. The ALMA project is a partnership between Europe, Japan and North America in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by ESO, in Japan by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in cooperation with the Academia Sinica in Taiwan and in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of Japan by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc.

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

This is one of the oldest and best known organisations of space research. 

Although it is administered by the USA, NASA extends its embrace to astronauts and scientists from all over the world.  This is exemplified by the crew of the latest space shuttle mission STS-116 Discovery.  Read about the space shuttle and much more.

STS-116 Shuttle MissionSTS-116 Timeline

Nicholas Patrick                Bill Oefelein                    Mark Polanski        Joan Higginbotham    Robert Curbeam      Christer Fugelsang         Sunita Williams


                                                                                                        We salute the work of the brave people who risk their lives in joining the crew of the space shuttle on its journey to the International Space Station.

The picture on the left shows the launch of the space vessel STS-116 Discovery during the night of 9 December 2006

The picture on the left is of the European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany who was brought back from the space station.  Sunita Williams took his place. She is an American citizen of Indian descent and has been widely written about in the Indian press - both in English and in Gujarati her native language,  The BBC World Service reported on 20 December that she had taken a token statue of Sri Ganeshi and a picture of her Jack Russell terrier with her into the space station.  The Shuttle returned on the morning of 22 December to its base in Florida.


'The Russian Space Agency' goes under the initials RSSI on the internet


RSSI title

RSSI Web Languages

The Russians are still very active in space research despite the limited funds made available.  Many of the European Space Agency satellites and space research vessels are launched from the Baikonur  Rocket site in Kazakstan.   Since 1993 Russia has rented Baikonur from Kazakstan

Baikonur has been used for all Soviet and CIS manned launches and for most lunar, planetary and geostationary orbit launches. This historic cosmodrome, built on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan, is still the world’s largest space launch facility even after nearly 50 years.

Mauna Kea Observatories

The University of Hawaii has published an excellent web-site dealing with one of the most important observatory sites in the world on top of the Mauna Kea - ' The White Mountain'

Natural History Museum London A wonderful museum divided into two major sections on Life Scientists and on Earth Sciences

Royal Society  This is a really worth while web-site.  It lists all the programmes for the Royal Society for the coming year and enables the viewer to go back to former lectures and see and listen to web-casts of the lectures.  These are in fact effectively television replays of lectures given.

Royal Society meeting on the origin of life in February 2006

Gresham College was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1597 and is an independently funded educational institution based in Barnard's Inn, Holborn, in the centre of London.  It has a comprehensive programme of free public lectures throughout the year on a wide series of topics including astronomy, mathematics and biology.  Some lectures are held at Barnard's Inn Hall and others at the Museum of London.  A Picture of Barnard's Inn Hall and the Court outside the hall are shown on the left

TOBA The Toba Volcano - a detailed discussion on the most destructive volcano in the last 27 million years .  Also a great deal of information on anthropology.

UKGE (United Kingdom Geologists Equipment) Suppliers of a very large variety of geologists tools and equipment.  Publishers of  'Deposits International Rock and Fossil Collectors Magazine'  Organisers of Field Trips

Astronomy Now. This is the foremost monthly magazine on astronomy and related  topics published in the United Kingdom.  It also organises the European Astrofest at Kensington Town Hall in London every February.  It keeps a lively and up to date web-site.

New Scientist  The New Scientist weekly magazine publishes an on-line publication on space.

National Gallery London for famous paintings including the painting of Middleharnis mentioned in the web-site page on the famous Dutch scientist H.van't Hoff.

A List of Space Agencies throughout the World is given in the Wikepedia

 Hooper Virtual Museum Carleton University Ottawa Canada With a score of over 140 thousand visitors to the site in the last ten years this fascinating 'virtual museum' is amine of information for anyone interested in natural history and is well worth a 'visit'.

Palaeo-maps project A truly excellent collection of Palaeogeographic maps is available on the web-site created by Chris Scotese of Texas University at Arlington.

The Laki Volcano mentioned in the section on Plate Tectonics

CERN is the worlds largest particle physics laboratory is build underground partly in France, partly in Switzerland. In autumn 2007 it is about to operate the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) one of the most enormous, inspiring and thrilling scientific instruments ever built.  A discussion of the nature of matter and experiments in particle physics will eventually form an important section of this web-site

.   .

A section of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN


Astronomical Societies - a large number of astronomical societies have been formed throughout the UK and other countries in Europe and the rest of the world. 

For information on power line telecommunications click on

Astronomical Societies - a large number of astronomical societies have been formed throughout the UK and other countries in Europe and the rest of the world. 

They are all assembled on the next page

and ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETIES Click on external links ast socs.htm



I should appreciate communication with secretaries or chairpersons of other societies in the UK and other parts of the world for the purpose of installing reciprocal hyperlinks with this web-site

More hyperlinks to other web-sites will shortly be established