National Space Science Center
Our view of the universe is like that of our ancestors who saw the surrounding world through a forest of trees. Now we can look beyond the nearby worlds of the solar system, past the stars of the milky way, to the very edge of the universe.
The light from space that reaches our eyes needs time for its journey, so looking outward in space is similar to looking backward in time. We see the moon as it was just over a second ago, and the sun as it was a little over eight minutes ago. As we look farther into space we look farther back in time.
After flying past the planets, we travel through our own arm of the galaxy and pass through clouds of dust and gas where stars are forming. Before long we are heading out of the Milky Way and on our way to the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.4 million light years away.
In time our voyage takes us through the Local Group of galaxies and beyond the Virgo supercluster of galaxies, all the way to the edge of the observable universe. Then we return to our home planet, the Earth, where we can gaze outward at the universe beyond.