Most Detailed 3D Universe Map Released — Action News Now

Dark Energy Spectrometer accurately maps galaxy positions over time to help scientists better understand dark energy

The most detailed 3D map of the universe to date showing the locations of 7.5 million galaxies has been released by the Dark Energy Spectrograph (DESI) Universe Survey Project.

The map, released Thursday by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is leading the project, is the result of DESI’s first seven months of operations.

Each point in the image represents an individual galaxy, made up of 100 billion to 1 trillion stars. The map shows the view moving 5 billion light-years from Earth in the direction of Virgo, slowly moving towards the constellation Bootes.

“It’s got a lot of beauty,” Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Julien Guy said. “In the distribution of galaxies in the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments and voids. They are the largest structures in the universe. But in it, you will find imprints of the early universe, and its history of expansion since then. “

This is just the beginning of work at DESI, as the project aims to add over a million new galaxies to the chart each month. When completed in 2026, the map is expected to include more than 35 million galaxies, giving astronomers a wealth of data to study.

DESI is a state-of-the-art detector attached to the four-meter-tall Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona. Consisting of 5,000 optical fibers precisely positioned to within 10 microns, it captures light hitting Earth from space, covering more than a third of the entire sky.

The detectors are looking for ripples in the distribution of galaxies known as baryon acoustic oscillations, which were incorporated into the distribution of matter in the first few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang.

By measuring the distances between these ripples at different times in the universe’s history, astronomers will be able to figure out whether the acceleration of the universe’s expansion is constant or time-varying.

This knowledge is crucial to understanding the mysterious dark energy, which is believed to make up 70% of the universe and is the driving force behind its expansion.

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