March 25, 2023

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This is the largest two-dimensional map of our universe

This is the largest two-dimensional map of our universe

Each galaxy on this map is a collection of tens of millions to billions of stars. vertigo!

The 2D map was created with data from the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys. The ultimate goal of this card is to learn more about dark energy. Scientists will select forty million galaxies for further research. Who knows, we might finally get an answer to the burning question: How did the universe expand over the past twelve billion years?

What is dark energy?
It is estimated that about five percent of the universe is made up of visible matter. Additionally, the universe is said to be made up of 70% dark energy: the still-mysterious driving force behind the universe’s accelerating expansion. But where exactly does this energy come from? It is a mystery to researchers. The other 25% is dark matter, which is also a headache for astronomers.

Scientists who participate in research regularly release new datasets. This zooms in and larger the 2D map. This week, the tenth dataset has been added to the map, so more than a billion galaxies can now be admired. You can View the 2D map here. Try to zoom in infinity.

Do you want to know what galaxies you see? Check the labels on the right.

Infrared data provides more depth
The new data comes from the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. At the moment, half of the night sky is drawn on the map. In addition, the researchers added a color filter, which makes it possible to view infrared images of objects.

“Now that infrared data has been added to the map, we can better calculate the redshift of distant galaxies,” says NOIRLab astronomer Alfredo Zentino. As a galaxy moves away from us, the spectrum of the emitted light (or other electromagnetic radiation) shifts to longer wavelengths. Therefore, the extended light from the early galaxies is much redder than when it was emitted. By looking at the color of the light, researchers can estimate how fast an object is moving away from us. “This way we can measure the amount of time it takes for light to reach Earth.”

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Anyone can find out
Everyone can see the 2D map. This not only makes it a gift for scientists but actually makes it a gift for every person who is passionate about astronomy. “Anyone can use research data to explore the universe and make discoveries,” says NOIRLab researcher Arjun Dey. “We hope that in the coming years the map will become the most complete map of the universe and become a treasure trove for scientists.”

The end is not yet in sight
Many discoveries will be made in the coming years. Scientists previously discovered with permission from DESI Over 1,200 new gravity lenses. In addition, researchers are working on 3D map of tens of millions of galaxies.