An illustration shows the Earth's night sky 3.75 billion years from now, with the Andromeda galaxy (left) beginning to distort our own Milky Way as the two collide. While galactic collisions are eye catching, could something bigger be just over the horizon? Z. Levay/R. van der Marel/T. Hallas/A. Mellinger/NASA/ESA hide caption

toggle caption Z. Levay/R. van der Marel/T. Hallas/A. Mellinger/NASA/ESA

Enjoy it while you can: the spectacular star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured in great detail by the VLT Survey Telescope at the ESO's Paranal Observatory. VPHAS Consortium/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit/ESO hide caption

toggle caption VPHAS Consortium/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit/ESO

One way we make sense of the cosmos is to study what's in it, objects like this brown dwarf (artist's impression) observed by the ESO's ALMA project. Another way is to watch what happens when tiny particles are smashed together in "labs" such as the LHC at CERN. M. Kornmesser/ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO hide caption

toggle caption M. Kornmesser/ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO

An artist's impression of a gamma-ray burst, a powerful jet of energy lasting from less than a second to several minutes. The most powerful events in the universe, they are thought to be mostly associated with the explosion of stars that collapse into black holes. A. Roquette/ESO hide caption

toggle caption A. Roquette/ESO