nearby galaxy diagram

Nearby universe with blue galaxies closest and red farther, up to 300 million light-years away.

An international team of researchers, including University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa astronomer Brent Tully 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 video was announced at the Cosmic Flows: Observations and Simulations conference in Marseille, France. The conference honored Tully’s career and 70th birthday.

The Cosmic Flows project has mapped visible and dark matter densities around the Milky Way galaxy up to a distance of 300 million light-years.

The team includes:

  • Helene Courtois, associate professor at the University of Lyon, France, and associate researcher at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA), UH Mānoa
  • Daniel Pomarede, Institute of Research on Fundamental Laws of the Universe, CEA/Saclay, France
  • Brent Tully, IfA, UH Mānoa
  • Yehuda Hoffman, Racah Institute of Physics, University of Jerusalem, Israel

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 scientific community now has a better representation of the moving distribution of galaxies around us and a valuable tool for future research.

The scientific article, “Cosmography of the Local Universe,” which explains the research behind the video, will be published in a forthcoming issue of The Astronomical Journal. It is now available online.

For more, read the Institute for Astronomy news release.

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