BOSTON—Astronomers have produced the most complete 3D map of the nearby universe to date. Using telescopes in both hemispheres, they measured distances to a whopping 45,000 galaxies out to a distance of 380 million light-years—for the astronomy buffs, a red shift of .07. Unlike the famous Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which mapped only part of the sky, the new 2MASS Redshift Survey covers 95% of surrounding space, skipping over only the region near the plane of our own galaxy, where the Milky Way's stars and dust block the view of remote objects. In the map, color codes for distance: purple dots are nearby galaxies; red dots are distant ones. Among other things, the new map will help astronomers to understand and explain the motion of the Milky Way, which is apparently being tugged by the gravity of neighboring groups and clusters of galaxies, says 2MASS team member Karen Masters of the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, who presented the it here at the summer meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
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