The map is helping scientists unlock the key to the role dark matter plays in the expansion of our universe.
Scientists have scanned a portion of the universe to create the largest 3D map showing millions of galaxies and providing evidence that dark matter is causing the universe to expand at a faster and faster rate.
Albert Einstein made a huge error in his original general theory of relativity where he believed the universe was at a fixed size but revised his theory when Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was, in fact, expanding. Later discoveries found distant galaxies were actually advancing away from us at a high speed.
Hundreds of scientists from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) used sound wave measurements and cosmic radiation imprints to create the giant map that positions the distance of galaxies through time.
The presence of dark matter – which is a unknown form of energy that enters the spaces between the galaxies and therefore causes the expansion of the universe – makes up 69 percent of the total energy in the present-day known universe.
“We have spent five years collecting measurements of 1.2 million galaxies over one quarter of the sky to map out the structure of the Universe over a volume of 650 cubic billion light years,” says Jeremy Tinker of New York University, a co-leader of the scientific team involved in the project. “This map has allowed us to make the best measurements yet of the effects of dark energy in the expansion of the Universe. We are making our results and map available to the world.”
The large 3D map is only the beginning and it’s hoped that it will form the basis for more precise measurements together with results from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) to further understand the secrets of dark matter and it’s true role in the future of our universe.