A computer simulation of the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe, showing a patch of 100 million light-years and the resulting coherent motions of galaxies flowing towards the highest mass concentration in the centre. The snapshot refers to an epoch about 10 billion years back in time. Klaus Dolag/VIMOS-VLT Deep Survey/ESO hide caption

itoggle caption Klaus Dolag/VIMOS-VLT Deep Survey/ESO

Don't panic! The end of the Universe (as we know it) isn't likely to hit us for billions of years, if it comes at all. Pictured: the Milky Way rises above the ESO's ALMA facility in Chile. José Francisco Salgado/ESO hide caption

itoggle caption José Francisco Salgado/ESO

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

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

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

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

Just the tiniest slice of what's out there: the Pencil Nebula is pictured in an image from the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile. This peculiar cloud of glowing gas is part of a huge ring of wreckage left over after a supernova explosion that took place about 11,000 years ago. ESO hide caption

itoggle caption ESO