six years. That’s how long it took to cram more than a billion galaxies into the same image. But the result justifies the time. The image is currently the largest map of our universe.
Exactly one month ago, we could see with the naked eye a comet that last visited us when the Neanderthals were still alive. But flying space debris is, of course, only a small part of our mysterious universe. What if we could explore the secrets of the universe in the same picture?
This gigantic mission occurred on the board of the Dark Energy Spectroscopy instrument (DESI) which investigates the effect of dark energy on the expansion of our universe. In total, three telescopes were used to record more than a million gigabytes of data.
Pictures with over a billion galaxies
The image shows more than a billion galaxies at 14,000 square degrees, or the unit of physics used to map our universe and the sky.
To cram as much as possible into a single image, the researchers had to include data from near infrared and visible light waves. That’s because distant galaxies often appear on the red end of the spectrum, as the universe is constantly expanding. In addition, the near-infrared wavelength allows them to better calculate the time it took for the light to reach Earth.
The “dark side” of our universe
The giant image was created with the goal of supporting research into dark energy and matter. Scientists study these invisible forces by analyzing galaxies and how they affect interactions between objects in space. Ultimately, Abell must help the 3518 astronomers provide society with a window on the universe.
Become an astronaut Go on a space trip yourself With a picture of DESI. Or check out the Dutch map that ensures scientists in Antarctica are suddenly finding so many meteorites.
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The picture with a billion galaxies leads us to the “dark side” universe