The Havard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicists has released the largest-ever map of space, locating millions of galaxies, quasars, and black holes. The point of all this—besides tempting us to make a Katamari out of it—is to study the past six billion years of universal growth and find out where this whole thing is going. So much space, so little time.
With that history, they can get better estimates for how much of the universe is made up of “dark matter” – matter that we can’t directly see because it doesn’t emit or absorb light – and “dark energy,” the even more mysterious force that drives the accelerating expansion of the universe.
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“Dark matter and dark energy are two of the greatest mysteries of our time,” said David Schlegel of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the principal investigator of BOSS. “We hope that our new map of the universe can help someone solve the mystery.”
For now there’s only this video, but let’s hope W, A, S, and D will soon let us navigate this never-before-navigable scale.