Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
The Coma Cluster of Galaxies
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.

Large-Scale Structure: Your Place in the Universe

We have seen that stars cluster together to form galaxies. Galaxies also cluster together to form much larger structures. There are clusters of galaxies called Groups which contain 10's of galaxies. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way resides in such a group of about 30 galaxies, named the Local Group.

Additionally there are much larger clusters of galaxies containing anywhere from 50 - 1000's of galaxies. The closest cluster to us is the Virgo cluster. The average distance between clusters is some tens of millions of Light-years.

Groups and Clusters cluster together to form even larger clusters known as Superclusters. The Local Group belongs to the Local Supercluster, whose center is at the Virgo Cluster. In between Superclusters are enormous voids of space where there are almost no galaxies at all.

The Largest structures discovered in the Universe are systems of voids and clusters. At this scale the Universe takes on a foamy look. The voids appear as great bubbles and galaxies lie along them in great filaments that connect Superclusters.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Galaxies

During the early 1900's, which is not very long ago, astronomers were unaware that there were other galaxies outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. When they saw a small fuzzy patch in the sky through their...more

Gamma Ray Bursts - The Most Powerful Objects in the Universe?

In the 1960's, the United States launched some satellites to look for very high energy light, called Gamma Rays. Gamma Rays are produced whenever a nuclear bomb explodes. The satellites found many bursts...more

Neutron Stars

Neutron Stars are the end point of a massive star's life. When a really massive star runs out of nuclear fuel in its core the core begins to collapse under gravity. When the core collapses the entire star...more

Spiral Galaxies

Spiral galaxies may remind you of a pinwheel. They are rotating disks of mostly hydrogen gas, dust and stars. Through a telescope or binoculars, the bright nucleus of the galaxy may be visible but the...more

White Dwarfs

When stars like our own sun die they will become white dwarfs. As a star like our sun is running out of fuel in its core it begins to bloat into a red giant. This will happen to our sun in 5 Billion years....more

Algol

What's in a Name: Arabic for "head of the demon" Claim to Fame: Represents Medusa's eye in Perseus. A special variable star that "winks" every 3 days. Type of Star: Blue-white Main Sequence Star, and...more

Sirius B - Bizarre White Dwarf Companion of Sirius A

What's in a Name: Nicknamed the "Pup" because it is the companion to Sirius, "the Dog Star" Claim to Fame: Highly compressed white dwarf remnant. Density about 50,000 times that of water. It has approximately...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF