New Interactive Map Offers Scroll Through Universe

In theory, the underlying data for the map (and thus, the map itself) may include some of the 40-quintillion odd black holes that are estimated to be in the observable universe. Of course, black holes are so gravitationally intense that light can not escape them, so they don’t show up as light sources in the map. But quasars—very bright galactic cores—are powered by supermassive black holes at their centers, and those are visible in the map.


“We are used to seeing astronomical pictures showing one galaxy here, one galaxy there or perhaps a group of galaxies,” Ménard said. “But what this map shows is a very, very different scale.”

Users can scroll up on the map, essentially traveling back in time to see older, more red-shifted objects. A ticker on the bottom of the map shows how far back in time the user is at any given point.


Unfortunately, you can’t click on individual galaxies to figure out what (or where) they are. But nonetheless, the map serves its purpose: showing just how small and new we are in comparison to the history of the universe and all its cosmic contents.

More: The World’s Largest Digital Camera Is Almost Ready to Look Back in Time