Watch: Largest Map of the Universe Created by Dark Energy Telescope Can Unveil Secrets of Cosmos
15:07 GMT 16.01.2022 (Updated: 16:57 GMT 12.04.2023)
Managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (aka Berkeley Lab), the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is an internationally run project, with the telescope having conducted a survey for the past year. It is now publishing its first results.
The dark energy telescope, DESI, in Berkeley Lab has managed to produce the largest and most detailed 3D map of the universe, which can help to uncover the secrets behind dark energy and the way our universe is arranged.
Dark energy is a yet-to-be-explored mysterious force that drives the expansion of the universe. The mission of DESI is to yield a better understanding of the physics of this force and how space may evolve in the future. The dark energy telescope has only been conducting its survey for around a year but its achievements are already being hailed by the scientific team as impressive and "literally cosmic".
Berkeley Lab shared a version of the largest 3D map of the cosmos in its Twitter account.
🔭 #DarkEnergy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Creates Largest #3D Map of the Cosmos 🪐☄️💫✨— Berkeley Lab (@BerkeleyLab) January 14, 2022
⬇️https://t.co/QPHrhYxv5o @desisurvey pic.twitter.com/dimPVO5cvl
“There is a lot of beauty to it,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Julien Guy. “In the distribution of the galaxies in the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments, and voids. They’re the biggest structures in the universe. But within them, you find an imprint of the very early universe, and the history of its expansion since then.”
The primary task of the survey is to collect detailed colour spectrum images of millions of galaxies across more than a third of the entire sky. By breaking down the light from each galaxy into its spectrum of colours, DESI can determine how much the light has been "redshifted" – ie, stretched out toward the red end of the spectrum by the expansion of the universe during the billions of years it travelled before reaching Earth, Berkeley Lab explains.
Now that the scientists have a 3D map of the universe, they are able to chart clusters and superclusters of galaxies, which carry the echo of their initial formation. Thus, humans can learn more about how the universe was formed and how its evolution will continue.
“Our science goal is to measure the imprint of waves in the primordial plasma,” said Guy. “It’s astounding that we can actually detect the effect of these waves billions of years later, and so soon in our survey.”
But for this to happen, more research is needed. From now on, the new map will be pinpointing the location of more than 7.5 million galaxies. The previous record of mapping roughly 930,000 galaxies was set by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in 2008.