Things to Know about the Cosmos

(move pointer over image to enlarge) For those who study the universe, this is the greatest age of discovery in history. Technical advances extend our view to the earliest galaxies,document the distribution of radiation from the Big Bang, locate remote exoplanets, and collide atomic particles to reveal the structure of mass and matter. These accomplishments represent the work of scientists and engineers in many fields, and because of this effort we are beginning to develop the best understanding of the universe we have ever had. Here are some basics.

Cosmos: The Big Bang

From the first moments of the universe to the formation of atoms ...

Cosmos: Black Holes

Paradoxical objects that underscore the mystery of the universe, black holes seem the ultimate destructive force, but may be essential to the stability of galaxies...

Cosmos: Star Cycles

Millions of years after the Big Bang, scattered areas of gas density gradually increased in mass, heat and pressure, until they ignited in spectacular bursts of nuclear fusion...

Cosmos: Galaxies

Stars formed in clusters in the huge clouds that became the early galaxies...

Cosmos: The Cosmic Microwave Background

One of the best indicators that the universe began with a bang is the radiation it left behind...

Cosmos: Solar Systems

Stellar death explosions produce massive gas and dust clouds, and some of that detritus becomes solar systems ...

Cosmos: Our Familiar Matter

The kind of matter made of atoms accounts for a tiny fraction of the mass of the universe...

Cosmos: Dark Matter, Dark Energy

Most of the mass of the universe is invisible and undetectable and is known only by its effects....

Cosmos: Voids in Space

Huge regions of apparent nothingness throughout the universe are full of surprises....