A wide variety of missions of exploration seek to explain the Universe's unanswered questions. Many are exceedingly expensive and are funded by the taxpayers. However, amateurs with relatively small telescopes or binoculars still make important contributions to astronomy.
This section features some of the most famous attempts to explore the night sky.
Image: Astronauts repair the Hubble Space Telescope from the space shuttle in 1993 (credit: NASA)
The AAO hunts exoplanets.
This space telescope measures the Universe's high energy objects.
Compton tracks gamma ray bursts from orbit.
A satellite finds important evidence supporting the Big Bang.
Herschel is the largest telescope ever launched into space.
This device was used to discover the cosmic microwave background radiation.
This famous telescope makes beautiful images of the Universe.
This facility is home to one of the world's largest radio telescopes.
A mission hunts for exoplanets similar to the Earth.
Kitt Peak is the national observatory of the United States.
The LHC investigates the first moments after the Big Bang.
19th century astronomers use a great telescope to study spiral galaxies.
Key discoveries have been made here.
This satellite captured a stunning image of light from the early Universe.
This project produces 3D maps of the Universe.
Spitzer studies the infrared Universe.
Swift aims to discover more about gamma ray bursts.
Astronomy's most important tool continues to evolve.
There are twin telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
An underground lab is part of the dark matter search.
UKIRT observes the infrared sky.
This powerful telescope is located in Chile.
This European telescope is located on La Palma.