Things always look different according to the surroundings you take into account. The bigger the map, the smaller you get. But if you thought you were small when looking at a map of the Earth, well, you’re bound to get smaller. The most comprehensive 3D-map of the universe has been made public and it is absolutely staggering!
Scientists from University of Waterloo and the Institute of Astrophysics of Paris have provided us with the most extensive view of the universe so far. The 3D map spans two billion light years and it represents the most complete picture of space ever produced throughout history.
The ground-breaking 3D map was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. There it has been explained for the curious readers. If you take a look at the picture of the map below, you will notice that colors range from white, to all shades of blue and up to red. Obviously, every color represents something else entirely.
The lighter colors, from white to light blue represent higher concentrations of galaxies. There is one single red area and that represents a supercluster known as the Shapley Concentration, the largest collection of galaxies in the near universe that is known up to date.
As for the medium blue parts of the map, they represent unexplored areas. So this 3D-map is only the first one of many more of its kind to come in the near future.
“The galaxy distribution isn’t uniform and has no pattern. It has peaks and valleys much like a mountain range. This is what we expect if the large-scale structure originates from quantum fluctuations in the early universe.”, said researcher Mike Hudson.
This 3D map will help scientists visualize the location and motion of matter in the universe and, by taking these factors into consideration, they will be able to predict such things as the expansion of the universe or the amount of dark matter that exists in the universe.
Also, this will help them understand how and why galaxies move differently because of the universe’s uneven expansion. These differences in the movement of the galaxies are called peicular velocities.
This first map shows that the galaxy that us Earthlings inhabit, the Milky Way, and our neighbor, Andromeda, are moving with a speed of 2 million kilometers per hour. It is the hope of Mike Hudson and his colleagues to be able to create future maps that will elaborate on this matter, thus making the vastness of the universe more tangible, even at such a high reach for humans.
“A better understanding of dark matter is central to understanding the formation of galaxies and the structures they live in, such as galaxy clusters, superclusters and voids,” explained Hudson about the future endeavors of his peers.
It is an important time for Astrophysicists and for the entire world. The most comprehensive 3D-map of the universe has been made public and we are one step closer not only to understanding the genesis of our planet and our species, but also on to getting an idea of what the future will bring. And that is truly remarkable!
Image Source: scienceworldreport.com