Space

A Map Of The Entire Universe In One Image

January 5, 2016 | by Ben Taub

Can you see your house?
Photo credit: Can you see your house? Pablo Carlos Budassi

If you ever happen to embark on a cosmic journey to the outer reaches of the universe, you may want to take along a copy of this map, which was created by musician and artist Pablo Carlos Budassi and encapsulates the entire cosmos in a single, mind-blowing image.

In order to create this incredible cartographic masterpiece, Budassi combined images from several of NASA’s telescopes and rovers with logarithmic maps of the universe created by astronomers from Princeton University. Logarithmic maps are able to encapsulate huge areas within manageable graphics since they decrease in scale as they move outwards from the center of the image, meaning that the objects in the middle of the map are shown in a much larger scale than those at the edges. As such, the vast distances of the outer reaches of the universe are condensed into a relatively small area on the map.

The image features the Solar System at its center, beyond which is a region of icy objects known collectively as the Oort Cloud. The next ring features the Milky Way galaxy, as well as a number of other nearby galaxies such as Andromeda.

Further out, one can see the so-called cosmic web, an intricate network of connections along which galaxies are arranged. Interspersed with vast empty spaces known as voids, the cosmic web consists of interwoven strings that provide the underlying structure of the entire universe.

Moving further still towards the edge of the map is a ring of cosmic microwave background radiation, which is the very earliest radiation in the universe, leftover from the Big Bang itself.

Finally, a ring of quark-gluon plasma encircles the entire cosmic image. This is the primordial particle soup that was created by the Big Bang, and which filled the entire universe for the first few microseconds of its existence.

Budassi told Tech Insider that he first came up with the idea for a logarithmic map of the universe while making hexaflexagons for his son’s birthday. These are paper structures that contain a number of hidden faces, condensing large amounts of information into a compact space.

With a map like this, there really is no excuse for getting lost the next time you happen to be navigating between Seyfert’s Sextet and the Virgo Cluster.

Pablo Carlos Budassi fused images from NASA with logarithmic maps of the universe to create this single, all-encompassing image of the cosmos. Pablo Carlos Budassi

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