Studies of the nearby universe encompass a region of approximately 1 billion light years in radius, over which the effects of cosmic evolution are small. Within this volume galaxies and associated objects are essentially frozen in their present day configurations.
As this is the part of the universe that can be observed in most detail, most of our knowledge about the structures and internal evolutionary processes of galaxies and systems of galaxies comes from studies within the local universe. In addition near field cosmology focuses on studies of the current states of galaxies to ascertain how they formed and evolved.
Any successful model of galaxies must not only reproduce youthful galaxies seen at high redshifts, but also the present day products of this evolution. The basic approach in this area involves combining multi-wavelength data with theoretical models to define key physical processes that control the nature of galaxies.