Most Complete 3-D Map of the Local Universe

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 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.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Most Complete 3-D Map of the Local Universe

  1. “Local” in the sense, I am assuming, that some part (how much, I don’t know) of the universe will never be visible to us because its light will never reach us. So no matter how mind-blowingly vast the visible universe is, it is still just a portion of the total.

  2. It’s sooooo awesome that the designer made all this (and the enormously greater universe beyond this map) just for us.

    I used to think that was a reasonable sarcastic argument against belief in the literal nature of the genesis account of creation, and supernatural creation in general, however reading AiG and Uncommon Descent, I realized that sarcasm is completely wasted – creationists really do think that it’s just awesome that their designer did all that for little ol’ us. In fact, they’ve rationalized that the only way to have created a universe we could physically inhabit was to make it exactly the size it is.

    Maybe this will elicit a new response from them.

  3. Isaac Newton

    Ed, like condescending, arrogant atheists everywhere, thinks he has all the answers. His “sarcasm is completely wasted.”

    Let’s talk about ignorance, shall we? The very TITLE of this thread demonstrates atheist ignorance: “The most complete 3-D map”.
    How do you get from “complete” to “most complete”? You don’t. If something is “complete,” it clearly cannot be “more complete” or “most complete” any more than it can be “most unique.” It is complete, or unique, or not. I know, thinking is hard for atheists.

    Isaac Newton was in his study one day when an atheist friend entered. The atheist watched as Newton turned his model of the solar system. Said the atheist, “How beautiful. Who made that?” Without bothering to turn around, Sir Isaac Newton replied, “Nobody made it. It just made itself.”

    Pretending to be scientifically enlightened, atheists claim that energy, matter, information, and organization all created themselves, out of nothing. It’s really quite an atheist fairy tale, the only counter to which atheists lay claim is “Who made God?” The Holy Bible anticipated and answered this question 2,000 years ago. God said “I am.” He is eternal and unchanging, here forever just as scientists once believed the universe to be. What was possible for the universe atheists don’t want to believe for its Creator.
    So there you have it.

  4. Isaac Newton says: “Let’s talk about ignorance, shall we?”

    No, let’s not. Goodbye, Ike.

  5. The map is beautiful, but I do have to wonder about it. The light from those stars has taken an increasingly long time to get to us the farther out from Earth we look. That being the case, aren’t we seeing where the stars were, not where they are now? Do we have the computing power to move each object to its present position?

  6. Greg Camp asks: “aren’t we seeing where the stars were, not where they are now?”

    Right. Except for a few dozen galaxies in what astronomers call the Local Group, they’ve all moved farther away.

  7. Celsus: Christians are like a council of frogs in a marsh or a synod of worms on a dunghill, croaking and squeaking, ” For our sakes was the world created.”