The largest 3D map of the universe ever created pinpoints one-million galaxies and its creators hope it will help solve some of astronomy's greatest mysteries.
NBC News says the map uses new data to locate every known galaxy and black hole spread out over 70-billion cubic light-years (an area of about 6-trillion miles).
David Schlegel of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California tells NBC the new 3D atlas could help scientists trace the history of the Milky Way over the past 12 Billion years and figure out some of the biggest mysteries, "Dark matter and dark energy are two of the greatest mysteries of our time, we hope that our new map of the universe can help someone solve the mystery."
Futurity.org says the information to construct the map came from Data Release 9 (DR9) compiled through the Sloan Digital Sky Survey lll (SDSS-lll) with information gathered from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). DR9 team leader Michael Blanton, a New York University physics professor, says, “What really makes me proud of this survey is our commitment to creating a legacy for the future.” “Our goal is to create a map of the universe that will be used long after we are done, by future generations of astronomers, physicists, and the general public.”
NBC News reports the SDSS-III project released a large amount of its data, including the map, for use by astronomers around the world. Blanton tells NBC News, "Our goal is to create a catalog that will be used long after we are done." SDSS-lll director Daniel Eisenstein says, "We want to map the largest volume of the universe yet, and to use that map to understand how the expansion of the universe is accelerating."
And this is only the beginning. Schlegel explains on the Berkeley Lab website, “This is just the first of three data releases from BOSS.” “By the time BOSS is complete, we will have surveyed more of the sky, out to a distance twice as deep, for a volume more than five times greater than SDSS has surveyed before – a larger volume of the universe than all previous spectroscopic surveys combined.”