Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Smallest Scale Map in the Universe

Not the map but a 2-D representation. Note the lack of "here be dragons"

The smallest scale map in the universe is, well, of the universe. The scientists behind the map are with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

The map is being used in the study of dark matter but that is secondary to geographers and cartographers who love maps for being maps. The majority of the map shows the known universe from Earth to about 5.6 Billion Light Years away. Unlike other maps where the end of the map is an abiritory point that the cartographer detrimes; the end of this map is THE END. 13.7 Billion Light Years from Earth (that's 8.1 × 1022 miles away from Earth!), millions of light years away from anything we can see, is the end of the map and therefore the universe.

The map is in 3-D and therefore hard to be displayed. SDSS is releasing data for use in NASA World Wind (which I have a love/hate relationship with) and the public map can be viewed by using the SDSS option. (Hat Tip: atlas(t))

Category: Maps, Space

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This would be the smallest scale map; the largest scale map would have a representative fraction of 1:1 or be magnified more than 100%.

Catholicgauze said...

Tu Che

Catholicgauze said...

This is what happends when I confuse "largest scale" with largest ratio

Dan tdaxp said...

millions of light years away from anything we can see, is the end of the map and therefore the universe.

I remember reading a Scientific American special report on "alternate universes," which gave four different definitions (each more alternate than the last). One definition of universe they used is everything we can see of the universe. Therefore, if there was inflation early on, our big bang universe could conceivably be infinitely larger than the visible universe, meaning an infinite number of alternate "universes" exist within the single universe created by the Big Bang.

Crazy.