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Map of the universe revealed


June 4, 2004

image: Nasa

image: Nasa

Given that most distant object yet observed by modern astronomy is a quasar about 250,000 billion billion kilometres away, creating a map of the observable universe is the ultimate challenge of scale. But Richard Gott has found a solution to the problem and the results will be published as a pull-out map in the latest edition of New Scientist.

Thrilled by recent advances in astronomy, Gott set out to make a map showing everything in the observable universe. Data wasn't the problem - size was. Gott realised that if he shrank such an enormous distance to fit on a single page, the entire Milky Way would be crammed into a dot smaller than a speck of dust. On the other hand, if he drew our galaxy to fit on a piece of foolscap, he'd need another 300 kilometres of paper to show the most distant quasar.

He's now found a solution and NewScientist is publishing the results in a pull-out map at the centre of the latest issue.

Imagine yourself standing on the equator for 24 hours; the map shows every significant object that will come into your line of sight, from horizon to horizon, right out to the distant edge of space and time.

Even though it is only a slice through the universe, it contains an impressive list of objects: 8420 satellites; 14,183 asteroids; 3386 stars and 126,625 galaxies.

It also shows the largest structure ever found in the universe: a wall of galaxies a staggering 1.4 billion light years long.

Image this page: NASA

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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