Our Sun and all the stars we see in the night sky are within the
Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way is within a neighborhood of galaxies known
as the Local Group. Studies of Local Group galaxies show how the
stars, gas, dust, and dark matter are structured, what they are made
of, and what physical processes are taking place within them.
The nearby location of Local Group galaxies means that they
can be studied in detail, and we can hope to use them to gain a deep
understanding of the properties of present-day galaxies.
Combining Local Group galaxy studies with studies of younger, more distant galaxies,
we will better understand how the Milky Way came to take on its present form, and
how galaxies in general have evolved over the age of the Universe.
The Great Galaxy in Andromeda, Messier 31
The Pinwheel Galaxy, Messier 33
The Magellanic Clouds
Andrew Szentgyorgyi, Guillermo Torres,