Research, Technology

Scientists create the most detailed map of matter in the universe. Why is it important?

400,000 years after the Big Bang, the primarythe plasma of the nascent universe began to cool, which led to the formation of the first atoms. Then came the relic radiation - thermal radiation, evenly filling the universe and spreading in all directions. This cosmic microwave background (CMB), first recorded in 1965, has been captured by modern telescopes and seen as the universe was shortly after its birth. Today, powerful astronomical tools allow you to create catalogs and maps that display not only galaxies and celestial bodies, but also large-scale structures of the Universe. It is believed that they were formed over billions of years as our world expanded and "aged". But what is especially interesting is that recently researchers came to the conclusion that all matter in the Universe, whether it be dark matter or plasma, is located unevenly. If the creators of the new, most detailed map of the universe are right, then our understanding of the cosmos will have to be revised.

Scientists create the most detailed map of matter in the universe in history. It can be used to detect matter hidden from our eyes and instruments.

The universe is a theater of shadows, and the galaxies are its main characters.


  • 1 CMB
  • 2 Universe of shadows
  • 3 The most detailed map of the universe
  • 4 A new era of cosmology

Background radiation

After scientists discovered the relicradiation, they mapped the tiny temperature fluctuations left over from the Big Bang. Close attention to the CMW is understandable - this radiation has survived most of the history of the Universe, retaining the imprints of all the changes that have taken place over 14 billion years.

During this time, the relic radiation met withgalaxies and other cosmic structures, stretched, compressed and deformed. The imprints of these meetings, left by the CMB, tell a lot about the distribution of all matter in the Universe, which is the key to unraveling the fundamental cosmological mysteries.

CMB radiation allows us to learn a lot not only about the conditions that prevailed in the early Universe, but also about the galaxies themselves in its open spaces.

Unlike standard optical studies,which capture the light emitted by stars, the CMW takes into account the bulk of galaxies hidden from view either in the form of dark matter clots or in the form of diffuse ionized gas connecting galaxies.

More on the topic: Why isn't interstellar space as dark as previously thought?

Universe of shadows

With the development of astronomical instruments, it became clear that the CMB contains much more information than previously thought. So, over the past 10 years, scientists have been able to confirm Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, theorized in the 1960s - it allows you to understand how the intensity of the radio emission of the relict background on the hot electrons of the interstellar and intergalactic gas changed.

Another effect known as weak gravitational lensing, distorts the cosmic microwave background radiation trajectory,when it passes near massive objects and is distorted as if it were viewed through the base of a wine glass. To put it quite simply, weak gravitational lensing allows us to see the invisible and distinguish dark matter from ordinary.

Most of the matter in the universe is hidden from our eyes and instruments.

Read even more interesting articles about cosmic microwave background and the latest space telescopes on our channel in Yandex.Zen - articles that are not on the site are regularly published there!

Together, these effects have allowed cosmologists toto make an accurate map of the location and temperature of absolutely all visible matter in the Universe (which retains the characteristic signature extracted from the obtained CMW images). And if you superimpose this map on the available images of stars and galaxies, you can not only measure cosmic distances, but also track the processes of star formation.

In 2021, a team of scientists from the StrasbourgAstronomical Observatory (France) has applied this approach. After studying CMB data from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Atacama Space Telescope, the researchers combined it with data from optical telescopes that include nearly 500,000 galaxies. Surprisingly, the result obtained allowed us to measure the ratio of ordinary and dark matter.

Matter is unevenly distributed throughout the Universe, but it used to be thought differently

The analysis also showed that supernova explosions and accreting supermassive black holes displace gas from dark matter nodes and distribute it (conventional telescopes are notable to detect it). Moreover, the new data do not coincide with the predictions of most cosmological models, which means that it is impossible to answer a number of fundamental questions of cosmology with their help.

By the way, after the Big Bang, a lot of unusual and strange processes took place in the Universe. About which ones, you can read here, we recommend!

The most detailed map of the universe

Given the data obtained over the past 10 years using the latest astronomical instruments, scientists have concluded that matter in the universe is unevenly distributed which does not correspond to the generally accepted cosmologicaltheories. A detailed map will soon be made available to the general public and astronomers believe it will help to understand a number of existing contradictions. All this means that our understanding of the universe is wrong (at least in part).

More than 150 people are participating in the study.scientists, including from the University of Chicago and the National Accelerator Laboratory. Enrico Fermi. The goal of the project is to identify and understand the forces responsible for the evolution of the universe. Researchers believe that if matter is not distributed throughout the Universe in “lumps”, then in the current model missing something really important.

Here is a map of how dark matter is distributed throughout the universe

The analysis carried out in the course of the work (including the analysisthe latest data on the CMB) allowed us to determine a more accurate location of matter, which not only is not distributed evenly and does not “clump”, but is also grouped in certain areas, the astronomers explain.

Agree, it sounds revolutionary.These findings, however, are preliminary and scientists have a lot of work ahead of them. However, the results of the analysis have already provided extremely useful information thanks to observations and modern astronomical instruments. You can see what the generally accepted model of the Universe looks like here.

Previously, scientists published the first map of the observable Universe in X-rays, we talked about it in more detail in this article.

New era of cosmology

Researchers involved in the creationof the largest map of the universe in the history of observation, they are only beginning to realize the true possibilities of the work done: “This is a sensational improvement in the cosmological model compared to all previously created. It's hard to believe, but we may be at a crossroads ... a new model of the universe, ”the authors of the scientific work report.

Detailed map of all visible matter in the universe

Since the basis of the standard model of cosmologyrelic radiation lies, new data may turn out to be revolutionary. We also note that in the work, scientists combined data from the two largest studies of the Universe, conducted using the Dark Energy Survey and the South Pole Telescope.

Five to 10 years ago, people thought that cosmology was over. But this is changing and we seem to we are entering a new era cosmological research, say cosmologists.

The universe and its power are amazing

By the way, earlier astronomers made a detailed map of one of the boundaries of the solar system. Intrigued? That way!

If the results of future studies confirmvoiced conclusions, then our Universe is actually not the same for the observer in all directions. And although it sounds tempting, it is premature to talk about final conclusions. And yet, just imagine - perhaps in the very near future we will finally prove the existence of dark matter. And this is a real breakthrough.