If you know the signs to look for, it becomes clear that the Earth itself is breathing. Reto Stockli/Alan Nelson/Fritz Hasler/NASA hide caption

itoggle caption Reto Stockli/Alan Nelson/Fritz Hasler/NASA

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

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

The Universe of Particles exhibition at CERN in 2011. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

This visualization shows the electron density in a quantum dot, an artificial atom. Wei Qiao, David Ebert, Marek Korkusinski, Gerhard Klimeck/NCN, Purdue University hide caption

itoggle caption Wei Qiao, David Ebert, Marek Korkusinski, Gerhard Klimeck/NCN, Purdue University