An international team of scientists has produced the most detailed 3D map of the universe yet, with astrophysicists revealing details of the first 7.5 million galaxies out of 35 million. The stunning image shows the cosmic web of galaxies going back billions of light years. And, this is just the beginning of the project, which is seven months old. The research, which will help explain dark energy, a force that makes up 68% of the universe and drives its expansion, is expected to take a total of five years to complete.
Scientists are using the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) for the design and built a component using 5,000 optical fibers that increase the telescope’s field of view. The project is adding galaxies at a rate of about a million per month. When the map is complete, with data going back 11 billion years, it is expected to help astronomers understand the origin of the universe and where it is headed.
“This [project] will help us look for clues about the nature of dark energy. We will also learn more about dark matter and the role it plays in how galaxies like the Milky Way form and how the universe is evolving,” said Professor Carlos Frenk, from the Institute for Computational Cosmology at the University of Durham. BBC.
The researchers are also trying to use the data to figure out how medium-sized black holes in small galaxies behave. Having mapped 7.5 million galaxies, DESI aims to add another 27.5 million by the end of its run in 2026.
Victoria Fawcett, a doctoral researcher at the Center for Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Durham who is also involved in the project, said DESI is cataloging objects much fainter and redder than previously discovered. “We are finding many exotic systems, including large samples of rare objects that we have not been able to study in detail before,” she said.
DESI is installed on the Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope in Arizona.
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