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Cosmic Mystery Tour

Cosmic Mystery Tour Banner

Humankind has wondered about the origin of the universe throughout recorded history, and no doubt before. Before the invention of the telescope, we believed our solar system (the sun, the earth and other planets) comprised the entire universe. The stars were believed to be small holes in a heavenly sphere behind which burned the fires of creation.

As astronomers probed deeper into space with powerful telescopes, they realized the universe is vastly larger than our solar system. We now know that the edge of the visible universe is roughly ten trillion (10,000,000,000,000) times as distant as Neptune, currently the outermost planet in our solar system.

Cosmology is the field of science that studies the universe as a whole--its entire history and all that it contains.

Michael Norman, NCSA/Univ. of Illinois, on-camera
Movie/Sound Byte
QuickTime Movie (1.9 MB); Sound File (1.1 MB); Text

Cosmic Timeline
Cosmic Timeline ismap

Click here for full size Timeline (60K)

In the Beginning

Quark Soup

Big Freeze Out

Parting Company

Galaxy Birth

Today's Universe

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Copyright, (c) 1995: Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

NCSA. Last modified 9/30/95.