ExploreExhibitsGunther Depths of Space

Gunther Depths of Space

Observing the Modern Universe

Space exploration transformed our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. As we learned more about the sky, our horizons broadened. What we once could detect only with our eyes, we now explore with technology.

Today our telescopes and space probes reveal landscapes on other worlds and detect planets around other stars. Our observing tools have extended our vision out to the stars, to the earliest galaxies, and back to nearly the beginning of time. Now, we can clearly see our place in the universe. We can feel at home in the cosmos.

Explore the Gunther Depths of Space

Star field

The Big Picture

The largest astronomical image in the world is glazed onto a porcelain enamel wall 152 feet long and 20 feet tall. Centered on the Virgo Cluster of galaxies (of which our Milky Way is a part), it reveals the amount of sky that your index finger would cover if held a foot from your eye at a resolution as if your eyes were 36-inch telescopes. Caltech estimates that the image includes over a million galaxies, ranging in distance from millions to billions of light years. You can also see hundreds of thousands of stars in the Milky Way and two asteroids and a comet here in our own solar system.

Earth

Our Earth

A large globe shows the detailed topography of our home world. A seismograph records the shifting of the Earth’s plates. Visitors can make and measure their own earthquake.

Planets Exhibit

The Planets

Scaled models, evocative imagery, and the chance to weigh yourself on other planets provide a sense of what it would be like to visit the other worlds of our solar system.

Solar System Diagram

Our Solar System

An overhead orrery illustrates how the planets of our solar system move at different speeds relative to each other as they orbit the Sun.

Other Worlds, Other Stars

Other Worlds, Other Stars

The latest count of planets outside of our solar system is brought to life with animated illustrations of possible “nearby” worlds.

Milky Way Galaxy

Milky Way Galaxy

A large, suspended glass sculpture of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral of billions of stars. Earth is not in the center, but out in one of the spiral arms.

A Familiar Star Pattern

The stars of the Big Dipper look very different when viewed from different vantage points in space.

Space Postcard

Our Address

A series of five panels, each showing a very different scaling of the universe, illustrates our place in the cosmos.

Star Field

Depth of Space

A narrated video animation describes the distances and depth of the space revealed in the adjacent Big Picture.

Albert Einstein statue

Albert Einstein

A bronze statue of the most famous scientist of the 20th century holds up his finger to measure the sky seen in the Big Picture across the gallery.