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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scientists unveil most complete EVER map of the universe that extends to 380 million lightyears away - 25th May 2011

The most complete 3D map of the local universe has been unveiled by British astronomers.

The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) from the University of Portsmouth extends to a distance of 380 million light years and has taken 10 years to complete.

It extends closer than previous surveys to the galactic plane - a region that is generally obscured by dust.

The survey has mapped in detail areas previously hidden behind the Milky Way to better understand the impact they have on its motion in relation to the rest of the universe.

Karen Masters from the University of Portsmouth presented the map in a press conference at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She said: 'The 2MASS Redshift Survey is a wonderfully complete new look at the local universe - particularly near the galactic plane.

'A galaxy's light is 'redshifted' or stretched to longer wavelengths by the expansion of the universe. The farther the galaxy, the greater its redshift, so redshift measurements yield galaxy distances.

'It's the vital third dimension in a 3D map and will enable cosmologists to study the area in much more detail.'

Earlier this month, scientists had revealed a similarly massive scale 3D map of the universe, which was one of the most complex images of the cosmos ever made.

Scientists behind the SDSS III map studied the brightest objects in the sky and came up with an image akin to 'looking at the moon through the clouds'. Source