New 3-D Map of Universe Is "Best One Yet"
2011 05 26

By Clara Moskowitz | Space.com


Astronomers have created the most complete 3-D map of our local universe, revealing new details about our place in the cosmos.

The map shows all visible structures out to about 380 million light-years, which includes about 45,000 of our neighboring galaxies (the diameter of the Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years across).


The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) has catalogued more than 43,000 galaxies within 380 million light-years from Earth (z<0.09). In this projection, the plane of the Milky Way runs horizontally across the center of the image. 2MRS is notable for extending closer to the Galactic plane than previous surveys — a region that’s generally obscured by dust. CREDIT: T.H. Jarrett (IPAC/SSC)


"I think it speaks to our desire to understand our place in the universe," said Karen Masters of the University of Portsmouth in England, during a press conference today. "I wouldn’t be happy if we didn’t have a complete map of the Earth. It’s nice to have a complete map of where we live."

The map was assembled using data from the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) Redshift Survey (2MRS), which took 10 years to scan the complete night sky in near-infrared light. The survey used two ground-based telescopes, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, Ariz., and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Near-infrared light, which is of a longer wavelength than visible light, can penetrate the opaque clouds of dust common in galaxies. This allowed the 2MRS survey to extend its "eyes" closer to the plane of the Milky Way galaxy than has been possible in previous studies, because that area is heavily obscured by dust.

"This covers 95 percent of the sky," Masters said. "In the infrared, we’re less affected by the gunk in the milky way so we’re able to see down closer to the plane of the galaxy."

Masters presented the new map here today at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The 3-D aspect of the map comes from the fact that researchers measured the cosmic objects’ redshift, which denotes how much its light has been shifted toward the red end of the color spectrum. This happens because of the so-called Doppler effect, which causes the wavelength of light to be stretched when the light’s source is moving away from us.

Because the universe is expanding, measuring an object’s redshift, and hence its velocity, allows astronomers to deduce its distance, because objects that are farther away are moving more quickly.

In addition to providing a more complete picture of our place in the universe, the new map could help solve the perplexing mystery of why the Milky Way moves the way it does with respect to the rest of the universe. This motion, about 370 miles per second (600 km per second) has yet to be explained by the gravitational attraction of the known objects near our galaxy.

Read the full article at: space.com





Video from: YouTube.com
"2MASS (Two Micron All Sky Survey) is a collaboration between the Univ of Mass and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Centre (JPL/Caltech) collecting data from up to 1,400 million light years away. In this short video, colour represents distance. The first objects shown in violet are the closest to us at z less than 0.01, up to 140 million Lys away (z is the fractional shift in the spectral wavelength) and red are the furthest away with z less than 0.09, up to 1200 million Lys away." (2007)




Related Articles
Consciousness Drives the Universe
God was behind Big Bang, universe no accident: Pope
Simple technique to support theory that universe is flat
Hogan’s Holometer: Testing the Hypothesis of a Holographic Universe
God did not create the universe, says Hawking
"Biocentrism": How life creates the universe
Limitations of human brain mean we may never understand the secrets of universe, says Britain’s top scientist


Latest News from our Front Page

NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us. At least that’s what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account. Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy. The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head ’by mistake’
2014 07 24
More terror from the ’anti-terror’ brigade. Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday. The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria. A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
More News »