Popular science author John Gribben traces the history of our increasing knowledge of galaxies in this engrossing Very Short Introduction, from the times before Galileo to the present day studies of our many hundreds of millions of galactic neighbors. Galaxies are intriguing celestial structures in and of themselves, but research into them has also disclosed much of what is known about the Universe today, opening a window into the Big Bang and the Universe’s beginnings. From the numerous sorts of stars that are born inside it to the beginnings of its spectacular spiral structure, Gribben examines our own “Milky Way” Galaxy in great detail. Gribben describes the many fascinating discoveries that have been made about our galaxy and those beyond, including how a supermassive black hole lurks at its center, how powerful forces are released during galaxy collisions, how distant galaxies offer a window on the early Universe, and how the formation of young galaxies sheds needed light on the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter. This is perhaps the fascinating part of the book.