This is unrelated to anything we normally blog about, but it’s too good to pass up. The word “local” in the title may require some thought to accept, but in a cosmological context it’s appropriate.
This is a press release from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: Astronomers Unveil Most Complete 3-D Map of Local Universe. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Today, astronomers unveiled the most complete 3-D map of the local universe (out to a distance of 380 million light-years) ever created. Taking more than 10 years to complete, the 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) also is notable for extending closer to the Galactic plane than previous surveys – a region that’s generally obscured by dust.
The 2MRS mapped in detail areas previously hidden behind our Milky Way to better understand the impact they have on our motion. The motion of the Milky Way with respect to the rest of the universe has been a puzzle ever since astronomers were first able to measure it and found it couldn’t be explained by the gravitational attraction from any visible matter. Massive local structures, like the Hydra-Centaurus region (the “Great Attractor”) were previously hidden almost behind the Milky Way but are now shown in great detail by 2MRS.
There’s not much point in further excerpts. If you’re interested, click over there and take a look.
Here’s a a good article about the map from Space.com: New 3-D Map of Universe Is Best One Yet. That’s where we got the pic you see above this post. If you go there you can click a button to see a larger version. The article says:
The map shows all visible structures out to about 380 million light-years, which includes about 45,000 of our neighboring galaxies … . “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.”
“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.”
As we often do, we’ll close by saying: “So there you are.” But this time we really mean it.
See also: Map of the Local Universe Proves Creationism.
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