Previous versions plotted the locations of galaxies within 7 billion light-years of Earth. The new version, however, charts clouds of hydrogen in a swath between 10 billion and 12 billion light-years away — farther in distance and deeper in time than any 3-D map before it.
The hydrogen clouds could help answer some of astronomers’ more profound questions about the universe, including the nature of dark energy.
“We’re looking for a bump in the data that may tell us how fast universe is expanding,” said cosmologist Anže Slosar of Brookhaven National Laboratory, one of the researchers who presented the map May 1 at the American Physical Society meeting in Anaheim, California. “We don’t have enough data to see the bump yet, but we expect to get there in a few years.” Continue Reading “Astronomers Create 3-D Map of 3-Billion-Year-Old Universe” »