Washington: An international team of researchers has mapped the motions of structures of the nearby universe in greater detail than ever before.
The maps are presented as a video, which provides a dynamic three-dimensional representation of the universe through the use of rotation, panning, and zooming.
The Cosmic Flows project has mapped visible and dark matter densities around our Milky Way galaxy up to a distance of 300 million light-years.
The video captures with precision not only the distribution of visible matter concentrated in galaxies, but also the invisible components, the voids and the dark matter. Dark matter constitutes 80 percent of the total matter of our universe and is the main cause of the motions of galaxies with respect to each other. This precision 3-D cartography of all matter (luminous and dark) is a substantial advance.
The correspondence between wells of dark matter and the positions of galaxies (luminous matter) is clearly established, providing a confirmation of the standard cosmological model. Through zooms and displacements of the viewing position, this video follows structures in three dimensions and helps the viewer grasp relations between features on different scales, while retaining a sense of orientation.
The scientific community now has a better representation of the moving distribution of galaxies around us and a valuable tool for future research.
The video was announced last week at the conference "Cosmic Flows: Observations and Simulations" in Marseille, France.