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An Atlas of The Universe

This web page is designed to give everyone an idea of what our universe actually looks like. There are nine main maps on this web page, each one approximately ten times the scale of the previous one. The first map shows the nearest stars and then the other maps slowly expand out until we have reached the scale of the entire visible universe.

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The Nearest Stars 12.5 Light Years from the Sun
The Nearest Stars
The closest star to the Sun is only 7000 times further than the edge of our solar system. This map shows all of the stellar systems that lie within 12.5 light years from us.
To the Solar Neighborhood
The Solar Neighbourhood 250 Light Years from the Sun
The Solar Neighbourhood
A large proportion of the stars visible with the naked eye are within 250 light years. This map shows this tiny section of our galaxy that surrounds our Sun.
To the Orion Arm
The Orion Arm 5 000 Light Years from the Sun
The Orion Arm
The local arm of our galaxy is called the Orion Arm. It is depicted here showing the millions of stars interspersed with clouds of interstellar gas.
To the Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy 50 000 Light Years from the Sun
The Milky Way Galaxy
Our galaxy is a loose spiral disc of two hundred billion stars rotating around a compact centre. This is a diagram showing the main features of the Galaxy.
To the Satellite Galaxies
The Satellite Galaxies 500 000 Light Years from the Sun
The Satellite Galaxies
The Milky Way is surrounded by several dwarf galaxies slowly orbiting it in periods of billions of years. This map shows the nearest of these satellite galaxies.
To the Local Group
The Local Group 5 Million Light Years from the Sun
The Local Group
The Milky Way is gravitationally bound to two other large spiral galaxies as well as dozens of dwarf galaxies. This local group of galaxies is illustrated here.
To the Local Supercluster
The Virgo Supercluster 100 Million Light Years from the Sun
The Virgo Supercluster
The local group of galaxies is just one of many centred around the massive Virgo Cluster. Collectively, all of these groups and clusters form a unit known as the Virgo Supercluster shown here.
To the Neighboring Superclusters
The Neighbouring Superclusters 1 Billion Light Years from the Sun
The Neighbouring Superclusters
The distribution of galaxies in the universe is far from regular. They tend to clump together into huge supercluster formations. This map shows many of the superclusters within 1 billion light years of us.
To the Known Universe
The Visible Universe 14 Billion Light Years from the Sun
The Visible Universe
Although our knowledge of the large scale structure of the universe is incomplete, many large and small scale features are visible right out to the very edge of the visible universe. The entire universe is fairly uniform, as this map shows.

This web page created by Richard Powell. Last updated: 30 Jul 2006
Visits since 1 Aug 2000:
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Glossary Glossary
This is a glossary which should hopefully explain most of the unexplained terms used in this web page.
Links Useful Links
This is my attempt at a list of other web pages which have maps and other useful data on various aspects of the universe.
Negative Images Negative Images
Here are some negative image versions of some of the maps on this web page, showing dark objects against a white background, which may be easier to print.
Copyright Copyright
This is a formal copyright statement concerning the text, maps and images used on this website for anybody who wants to copy or use parts of this website.
"The choice is the universe or nothing." - H.G. Wells