Astronomers created new interactive map of the Universe

(ORDO NEWS) — A new map of the Universe for the first time displays the coverage of the entire known space with the utmost accuracy.

Created by Johns Hopkins University astronomers from data collected over two decades with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the map provides insight into data previously only available to scientists.

An interactive map showing the actual positions and real colors of 200,000 galaxies is available online and can also be downloaded for free.

“As a child, I was very inspired by astronomical images, stars, nebulae and galaxies, and now it’s our time to create a new type of imagery to inspire people,” says mapmaker Bryce Menard, professor at Johns Hopkins University.

“Astrophysicists around the world have been analyzing this data for many years, leading to thousands of scientific papers and discoveries.

But no one has taken the time to create a beautiful, scientifically accurate, and accessible map for people who are not scientists. Our goal here is to show everyone what the universe really looks like.”

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a pioneering attempt to capture the night sky with a telescope based in New Mexico.

The map, which Menard put together with the help of former Johns Hopkins computer science student Nikita Shtarkman, visualizes a slice of the universe, or about 200,000 galaxies.

Each dot on the map is a galaxy, and each galaxy contains billions of stars and planets. The Milky Way is just one of those dots, the one at the very bottom of the map.

The expansion of the universe contributes to the greater colorfulness of this map. The further away an object is, the redder it appears.

The top of the map shows the first burst of radiation emitted shortly after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.

“On this map, we are just a speck at the very bottom, just one pixel. And when I say “we,” I mean our galaxy, the Milky Way, which has billions of stars and planets,” says Menard.

“We are used to seeing astronomical images showing one galaxy here, one galaxy there, or perhaps a group of galaxies. But what this map shows is on a very, very different scale.”

Menard hopes that people will appreciate both the card’s undeniable beauty and its awe-inspiring scope.


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