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Universe

A map of the Universe. About 100 billion galaxies are grouped into giant clouds, called superclusters, spread out like a net. The...Read More >>A map of the Universe. About 100 billion galaxies are grouped into giant clouds, called superclusters, spread out like a net. The “holes” between them are vast empty spaces, known as voids. The Universe consists of everything that we know to exist: stars, planets, rocks, people, and so on. It even includes empty space. Nearly all the visible matter in the Universe is contained in galaxies. About 100 billion galaxies are grouped into giant clouds, called superclusters, spread out like a net. The “holes” between them are vast empty spaces, known as voids. The Universe probably began life in a hot, dense explosion called the Big Bang, which took place about 13.7 billion years ago.



Light takes only 4.22 years to reach us from Proxima Centauri. This small red star, captured in the centre of the image, is so...Read More >>Light takes only 4.22 years to reach us from Proxima Centauri. This small red star, captured in the centre of the image, is so faint that it was discovered as recently as 1915. It is only visible through a telescope. Stars of all types from our Milky Way Galaxy are visible in the background.

Light years

The Universe is unimaginably vast: billions upon billions of kilometres wide. Distances in it are so great that a special measure is needed to record them. This is a light year, or the distance that light, which moves at a speed of 299,792,458 metres per second (186,282 mph), travels in one year: about 9,460,528,405,000 kilometres or about 6 trillion miles (6 followed by 12 noughts). The nearest star to Earth after the Sun, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away. The most distant objects we know in the Universe are more than 13 billion light years away.
 

Superclusters

The Universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old.

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