Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution
Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101 Support this project


Formation of Our Solar System

Ingredients for Life


Research Profiles


print print

A Place for Life: A Special Astronomy Exhibit of Understanding Evolution


The history of science shows us that our place in the Universe is not as unique as we might think. From the lessons of the Copernican revolution that the Earth is not the center of the Universe, to the discovery in the early 20th century that our Milky Way is just one of many galaxies, science has discovered that the Universe doesn't revolve around us. We live on a planet that is probably fairly average in size, orbiting a fairly average star, in the outskirts of a fairly average galaxy. Should we infer that the evolution of intelligent life is similarly unexceptional, or does the Anthropic Principle imply that we are starting from a biased position as intelligent observers and that life is perhaps very rare? Either way, for the first time in our evolutionary history, we may be close to an answer.

The Fomalhaut system
This image of the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. The smallest, reddest galaxies, of which there are approximately 10,000, are some of the most distant galaxies to have been imaged by an optical telescope, probably existing shortly after the Big Bang.

Image by NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)

page 6 of 10
previous | next  >