PlanetXray is your free travel guide without ads, just travel information.  The left-hand expandable menu is your cockpit for zooming into any country or region in a couple of clicks.

Our accomodation search box queries the world's major hotel websites to compare their prices in real time.  This can only mean you get the most competitive price at your time of booking.

Free 333-page Britain guide

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UKDownload your interactive, travel guide to Britain.  Now you don't have to buy a print version that is quickly out of date.  Hey, it's weighless!  No more heavy tomes in your backpack.  Click here.


Corfe Castle, Dorset

Ardenne region, France

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Buttermere, Lake District

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

Mysterious 4,500 year old neolithic monument thought to be used as a celestial observatory and place of healing

Westminster, London

Jurassic Coast, England

Reims Cathedral, France

Mont St Michel, Normandy, France

Javascript is required to view this map.
World Famous Places:  1.  Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA  2. Statue of Liberty, New York, USA  3. Machu Pichu, Peru  4. Amazon River & Forest, Brazil  5. Stonehenge, WIltshire, UK  6. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France  7. Colessium, Rome, Italy  8. Acropolis, Athens, Greece  9. Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey  10. Petra, Jordan  11. Pyramids at Giza, Egypt  12. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania  13. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe border  14. Kremlin/Red Square/St Basils, Moscow, Russia  15. Taj Mahal, Agra, India  16. Mt. Everest, Nepal/China border  17. Potala Palace, Llasa, Tibet  18. Lake Baikal, Buryatia and Irkutsk Provinces, Russia  19. Great Wall of China, Badaling section, China  20. Terracotta Warriors, Shaanxi Province, China  21. Golden Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand  22. Angkor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia  23. Banaue Rice Terraces, Luzon, Philippines  24. Borobodur, Central Java, Indonesia  25. Great Barrier Reef, Queenland, Australia  26. Zion Kerk Point, Moreton Island, Australia


The Universe is about 13 thousand million years old.  Its birth certificate, however, has never been found. 


  Big Bang start
Scientists use the Hubble telescope to peer into the distance universe and the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva to replicate the conditions at the moments after the Big Bang in an attempt to work out what happened but, perhaps unsurprisingly, they have come away with more questions than anwers. 
  Hubble diagram


What does seem certain is that the Universe began with a singularity- a miniscule point that contained the entire universe.  It was at once massive and microscopic, which means that the laws of the huge- General Relativity- and the laws of the tiny- Quantum Mechanics- momentarily overlapped.  Since Quantum Mechanics is goverened by some dodgy randomness, the universe did not expand uniformly.  Happily, this meant that it became clumpy and allowed stars and galaxies to emerge, which in turn led to us.



The early Universe's was rather hot (to say the least) most of it was radiant energy (light) rather than particles.  The early expansion of the singularity was astonishingly swift and vast under a process known as inflation (suggesting God is a Central Banker), and correspondingly cooled as the energy spread out. 

  B B Inflation


The universe's temperature was so high that the early protons smashed into each other fast enough to result in a nuclear fusion that converted hydrogen into helium- the same process that takes place in the core of the sun today.  For a few minutes our universe was a hydrogen bomb!. 

  Early universe

Three minutes after the Big Bang the temperature had cooled to a balmy billion degrees- enough to switch off the nuclear fusion so that no more hydrogen was converted into helium.   To this day, the vast majority of the universe still consists of hydrogen and helium, and their relative abundance has not changed much since ... about 71% hydrogen and 27% helium.  The heaver elements comprise less than 2% of the universe and are a sideshow that have emerged in the remaining 13 thousand million years minus 3 minutes. 

The first three minutes was arguably the most eventful part of the Universe's history.  From this moment there was a long period of darkness until future stars and galaxies were able to bring a little candlelight to the universe-scape.


   Dark period