1st 3-D map of large-scale structure of universe released

Washington, August 9 (ANI): A team of scientists have released their first version of a 3D map of the universe.

The team consisting of astronomers from Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo and the University of Oxford released the map from its FastSound project , which is surveying galaxies in the universe over nine billion light-years away.

Using the Subaru Telescope's new Fiber Multi-Object Spectrograph (FMOS), the team's 3D map includes 1,100 galaxies and shows the large-scale structure of the universe nine billion years ago.

The FastSound project, one of Subaru Telescope's Strategic Programs, began its observations in March 2012 and will continue them into the spring of 2014.

Subaru Telescope's FMOS facilitates the project's goal of surveying a large portion of the sky. FMOS is a powerful wide-field spectroscopy system that enables near-infrared spectroscopy of over 100 objects at a time; the spectrograph's location at prime focus allows an exceptionally wide field of view when combined with the light collecting power of the 8.2 m primary mirror of the telescope.

The current 3D map of 1,100 galaxies shows the large-scale structure of the universe nine billion years ago, spanning 600 million light-years along the angular direction and two billion light-years in the radial direction.

The team will eventually survey a region totaling about 30 square degrees in the sky and then measure precise distances to about 5,000 galaxies that are more than ten billion light-years away.

Although the clustering of galaxies is not as strong as that of the present-day universe, gravitational interaction will eventually result in clustering that grows to the current level.

The final 3D map of the distant universe will serve a primary scientific goal of the project: to precisely measure the motion of galaxies and then measure the rate of growth of the large-scale structure as a test of Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Although scientists know that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, they do not know why; it is one of the biggest questions in contemporary physics and astronomy. An unknown form of energy, so-called "dark energy," appears to uniformly fill the universe, accounting for about 70 percent of its mass-energy content and apparently causing its acceleration. (ANI)

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