Manned interstellar journeys are unlikely in our lifetimes, but we can make up for this dearth of star jumping via reruns of any number of space-based TV shows. Or, if you want an experience that’s scientifically accurate, you can point your eyes to this fantastic 3D map of the universe… the very, very, very far away universe.
If you want to know who to thank for this splendid rendering of cosmological niceties, look no further than the a team of astronomers from the University of Tokyo, University of Oxford and Kyoto University. Their work is part of what’s called the “FastSound” project, which aims to create a three-dimensional map of the “far-distant universe”, with “far-distant” meaning nine billion light years and farther.
In comparison, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which we’ve featured previously, is checking out objects a measly five billion light years away.
The map itself was created using data from the 8.2m Subaru Telescope, positioned on the top of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, a volcano about 4207m above sea level. Despite its location, the telescope is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, otherwise known as NAOJ.
Using the telescope’s relatively new Fibre Multi-Object Spectrograph (FMOS), which allows it to study the interactions of near-infrared light of over 100 objects simultaneously, the team has observed some 1100 galaxies and an area of the sky measuring “2.5 times 3 degrees” since early 2012.
The plan is to continue their observations until 2014, when it’s hoped they’ll hit their target of 5000 galaxies.