Story at a glance
- Scientists recently finished creating the largest and most detailed 3D map of the universe ever.
- The map was created with the help of a special instrument that picks up radiation from distant bodies in space.
- Researchers hope the instrument will help the science community’s understanding of the universe’s strongest light sources.
Scientists have created the largest and most detailed 3D map of the universe using an instrument that has mapped out more galaxies than all other three-dimensional surveys combined.
The map was created by the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is managed by the United States Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab., and works by observing the radiation given off by distant objects in space.
DESI has thousands of fiber optic cables positioned to be able to pick up light from different galaxies, according to Newsweek. Those cables then run down to 30 detectors which interpret the light into visible data that physicists and astronomers look at.
“There is a lot of beauty to it,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Julien Guy. “In the distribution of the galaxies in the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments, and voids. They’re the biggest structures in the universe. But within them, you find an imprint of the very early universe, and the history of its expansion since then.”
Built in 2015, the instrument first picked up light in 2019 and was temporarily shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic although some work continued remotely, according to a statement from the Berkeley Lab.
It is now only 10 percent of the way through on its five-year mission and once completed, scientist hope it will help reveal “the secrets of the most powerful sources of light in the universe.”
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