Astrophysics created the largest 3D map of the Universe to date

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 22, 2020

Scientists have also investigated its expansion history over the most recent few billion years from Supernovae distance measurements and galaxy maps, including those from past phases of the SDSS. This survey added the distance to each object, allowing scientists to build a 3D model.

Astrophysicists and cosmologists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have released the largest 3D map of the Universe ever created, filling in the most significant gaps in our exploration of its history. Imager credit: Anand Raichoor, EPFL / Ashley Ross, Ohio State University / SDSS Collaboration.

After analyzing several million galaxies and quasars, an global consortium of scientists has retracted a more continuous history of the Universe.

The work carried out by eBOSS astrophysicists specifically examines the universe from a time when it was about 300,000 years old, pinpointing on observations of galaxies and energy-packed quasars to better define the universe's structure.

The new map comes from the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), an SDSS collaboration of more than 100 astrophysicists worldwide, and represents the combined effort of more than 20 years of mapping the Universe using the Sloan Foundation Telescope at Apache Point Observatory. They also had good information about how the universe looked in the beginning because of scientific studies that assessed the elements created after the Big Bang.

"This is one of the most substantial advances in cosmology in the last decade", Will Percival, lead researcher and professor at the University of Waterloo, said in a release. From there, scientists measured the recurring patterns in the distribution of galaxies, thus identifying several key cosmological parameters, including the density of hypothetical dark matter and energy in the Universe, with a high degree of precision.

This accelerated expansion seems to be due to dark energy, consistent with Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity but extremely hard to reconcile with our current understanding of particle physics.

Researchers noted in their findings that when it came to measuring the current rate of the universe's expansion, their figures didn't exactly match up with rates stated in past studies of the early universe.

"The high precision of data makes it unlikely for this mismatch to result from chance", notes Andreu Font Ribera, IFAE researcher in Barcelona, who led the interpretation of results.

"These newest maps from eBOSS show it more clearly than ever before". It's called dark energy and it's expanding the universe at a fast rate. Julian Bautista, a researcher in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth.

For the part of the map relating to the universe 6bn years ago, researchers observed the oldest and reddest galaxies.

For more distant eras, they concentrated on the youngest galaxies, the blue ones. To map the cosmos back 11 billion years, officials focused their sights on quasars - bright, distant celestial objects that are powered by supermassive black holes.

Each of the samples required careful analysis in order to remove contaminants, and reveal the patterns of the Universe.

"The eBoss analysis and the previous experiments in SDSS show the history of the expansion of the Universe over the largest amount of time studied so far", notes Héctor Gil Marín, Junior Leader "La Caixa" Fellow from ICCUB.

These results have seen the light today with the publication of more than twenty science articles in ArXiv, documents that describe, over more than five hundred pages, the analysis of the latest data in eBOSS.

For this survey, scientists take a gander at different galactic tracers that reveal the mass distribution in the Universe.

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