A team of astronomers and physicists created the largest three-dimensional (3D) map of the universe featuring 1.2 million galaxies. The vast 3D map not only validates Albert Einstein's theories but could also make accurate measurements of dark energy.
According to the study's co-leader, Jeremy Tinker, from New York University, the research team spent a decade gathering the measurements of 1.2 million galaxies to create a structural map of the universe over a volume of about 650 cubic billion light-years.
The new 3D map is capable of creating the most accurate measures of dark energy's effects as well as the universe's expansion rate. Moreover, scientists can analyze the quantity of dark energy and matter existing in the present universe. The map can also measure the changes happening in the universe and how dark energy impacts such events.
The huge project confirmed on a universal level the laws of gravity as well as general relativity. It provided proof of dark energy's role in the universe's fast expansion. The finding validated Einstein's suggestion of Lambda, which is a continuous, repellant force that counters the attraction between matter.
According to astrophysicist David Schlegel from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), they were able to create the new 3D universe map by analyzing 95 percent of the dark universe. To create the map, the team utilized the data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III's program called Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS).
Using the 3D universe map, scientists can show how dark matter gravitationally pulls galaxies toward other galaxies.
"And on much larger scales, we see the effect of dark energy ripping the universe apart," said Schlegel.
BOSS looks at the size of the baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) in the 3D distribution of galaxies to measure the universe's expansion rate. The present-day universe is about 13.8 billion years old.
"With BOSS, we have traced the BAO's subtle imprint on the distribution of galaxies spanning a range of time from 2 to 7 billion years ago," said Ariel Sanchez from the Max-Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.
The research is detailed in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.