Our Universe:



Timeline of the Universe:
A representation of the evolution of the universe over 13.77 billion years.
The far left depicts the earliest moment we can now probe, when a period of "inflation" produced a burst of exponential growth in the universe.
(Size is depicted by the vertical extent of the grid in this graphic.)
For the next several billion years, the expansion of the universe gradually slowed down as the matter in the universe pulled on itself via gravity.
More recently, the expansion has begun to speed up again as the repulsive effects of dark energy have come to dominate the expansion of the universe.
The afterglow light seen by WMAP was emitted about 375,000 years after inflation and has traversed the universe largely unimpeded since then.
The conditions of earlier times are imprinted on this light; it also forms a backlight for later developments of the universe.

Our Sun is only one of about 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy,
which in itself is probably only one in a hundred billion galaxies in the visible universe.
In the context of the inflationary model, even the visible universe is only an infinitesimal fraction of the entire universe that probably exists.