Huge sky surveys largely confirm the standard model of cosmology


The most extensive map of the distribution of nearby and distant galaxies to date has largely confirmed the so-called standard model of cosmology, but has also found small deviations. This was announced by those responsible for the so-called Dark Energy Survey (DES) and published 29 scientific articles. They have the data from the first three years, in which the 570 megapixel camera used continuously photographed almost an eighth of the starry sky. Around 226 million galaxies were observed that are up to seven billion light years away.

The immense sky survey Dark Energy Survey was carried out between 2013 and 2019 at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and a total of 759 nights of data were collected. The results presented now come from the first three years of this observation campaign and already enable the most precise map of the distribution of galaxies in the comparatively recent past, explain those responsible. Among other things, this required the help of a supercomputer. All in all, the best model currently available for the development of our universe since the Big Bang has been tested more closely than ever before – and it has stood the test.

The Dark Energy Survey should also find structures that are invisible to us through the precise mapping of visible objects and thus above all contribute to research into the mysterious dark energy. After all, “normal” matter only makes up about five percent of the universe, dark matter another 25 percent and dark energy the remaining 70 percent. Their interaction has an impact on large-scale structures such as galaxy clusters, which the survey revealed more precisely than was previously possible. A glance at galaxies that are comparatively close and billions of light-years away would have illustrated several epochs in the history of our universe at the same time. These could also be compared with the forecasts.

Die Dark Energy Survey camera (DECam)


As the researchers also explain, they also checked their results with the map of cosmic background radiation, which shows the universe around 400,000 years after the Big Bang. The standard model of cosmology shows how the universe evolved from it and that largely agrees with the observations. At the same time, however, it has also been shown once more that the universe is a few percent less “clumped” than the formulas indicate. This confirmation of earlier deviations requires further analysis, they write. The scientific articles are linked on the project page.


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