Sunday, May 01, 2011

Largest 3-D Map Opens Window to the Ancient Universe

The largest-ever three-dimensional map of the distant universe has been created using the light of the brightest objects in the cosmos. Since this distant light took eons to reach Earth, the map is essentially a window back in time, providing an unprecedented view of what the universe looked like 11 billion years ago.Normally, researchers make maps of the universe by looking at galaxies.

"Here, we are looking at intergalactic hydrogen gas, which blocks light," said researcher An┼że Slosar, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. "It's like looking at the moon through clouds -- you can see the shapes of the clouds by the moonlight that they block."

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