Museum Guides use The Big Picture – the largest astronomical image in the world – to help explain the nature of the universe and our place in space.
The Realm of Galaxies
When we look beyond the Milky Way, we see other galaxies. Our eyes are drawn to these collections of stars, gas, and dust. Their starlight shines across millions of light-years.
As we gaze farther out in space, galaxies look different to us depending on their distance. We can observe definite shapes and structures in nearby galaxies. More distant ones look like undefined smudges of light.
The Structure of the Universe
Galaxies are the main building blocks of the universe. They are not distributed uniformly in space but instead are arranged in clumps and clusters of all sizes.
A map of the galaxies in the constellation Virgo shows a grouping of hundreds of galaxies that we call the Virgo Cluster. This kind of clustering structure is seen throughout the universe.