It boggles the mind. This never-before-seen cosmic map fills in 11 billion years of our universe's expansion history.
There’s a decades-long project on which astronomers have been working, called the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey–eBOSS). It aims to understand better our place in the universe and what the cosmos looks like.
The recently revealed map results from the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), an SDSS collaboration of more than 100 astrophysicists worldwide.
The map sees astrophysicists fill in 11 billion years of our universes’ expansion history.
The cosmic map is so massive that its source is detailed in twenty-three scientific papers.
Although the cosmos is one supermassive place whose exact size we are unlikely to measure, science is making excellent progress towards the goal.
Now, scientists working on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have released a stunning three-dimensional map of the universe which encompasses 11 billion years (out of 13.8 billion—or better said 12.8 billion years) of the universe’s history.
It’s an unprecedented astronomical chart, one that we’ve never been able to see until now.
Speaking about the map, the group wrote how “we are located at the very center of the map.”
“As we lookout in the distance, we look back in time,” they add.
The Universe is a massive place, and it is extremely, very, very old. The light we see from distant states and galaxies takes a long journey to reach Earth.
That way, when scientists look at distant galaxies, like Andromeda, they actually look at a time in the past. The light shining from the Andromeda galaxy takes approximately 2.5 million years to reach observers on Earth.
The mind-boggling chart offers an unprecedented view of not only our place in space. Still, it offers the observer an opportunity to see different objections in space, such as galaxies, and at what distances these objects are from us.
Furthermore, through the colored areas of the map, astronomers measure the pattern of light emitted from the objects, all of which are actually moving away from the Milky Way Galaxy since it is believed that the universe we live in is constantly and increasingly expanding.
As revealed by the astronomers, the light from the oldest galaxies in the universe, for example, is stretched as these objects move farther away from Earth, causing the wavelength of their light to change completely. This alteration helps astronomers understand their place in the universe.
The above map shows us in the center of the observable universe, with the outer sphere in the maps illustrating fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background.
The inset for each color-coded section of the cosmic chart includes an image of a galaxy or quasar from a particular section, as well as the signal of the pattern that eBOSS scientists measure.
“As we lookout in the distance, we look back in time. So, the location of these signals reveals the expansion rate of the Universe at different times in cosmic history,” the scientists explained.
The map is a true cosmic work of art. It reveals filaments and voids that define the very structure of our universe, beginning from a time when the universe we live in was around 300,000 years old.
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