The image to the right is the most complete map of our local universe to date. It took more that ten years to create, has 43,000 galaxies (the universe contains billions if not even trillions of galaxies) and extends out 380 million light years from the earth. The 3D coordinates of each galaxy was recorded so the raw data could potentially be used to build a realistic 3D model of the universe. Throw in some holographic technology and you have something straight from Star Trek.
Karen Masters (University of Portsmouth, UK) presented the new map in a press conference at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
The 2MRS mapped in detail areas previously hidden behind our Milky Way to better understand the impact they have on our motion. The motion of the Milky Way with respect to the rest of the universe has been a puzzle ever since astronomers were first able to measure it and found it couldn’t be explained by the gravitational attraction from any visible matter. Massive local structures, like the Hydra-Centaurus region (the “Great Attractor”) were previously hidden almost behind the Milky Way but are now shown in great detail by 2MRS.
And if you’re wondering where we are in all these dots? Our galaxy, the Milky Way, runs horizontally through the center of the image.
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