They met on the Milky Way
Before Galileo, it was thought that all bright objects in the sky were either the planets in the Solar System, moons, comets, or stars. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, astronomers did not know the size of the Universe, but speculated it to be about as big as the Milky Way.
In 1920, at the National Academy of Science, there was a big debate between Harlow Shapley and Heber D. Curtis on whether nebulae are small globular clusters surrounding the Milky Way, or separate galaxies located farther away. Nothing was resolved at the debate; neither side was able to provide conclusive evidence to prove their side correct over their opponent.
In 1923, Edwin Hubble resolved the matter with a photograph that he took of the Andromeda Galaxy. What he found in his photograph was a very bright light source pulsing at a certain rate, a Cepheid variable, located outside the Milky Way. This can be used to determine the distance to it.
Hubble proved that the Universe was full of galaxies, and disproved that the Milky Way was the extent of the Universe. There are many types of galaxies in the Universe, elliptical, barred spiral galaxies; they vary in shape and size, but on average spiral galaxies are the most abundant.