Mapping of the Universe beyond the Known
A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have not only produced the most accurate map of the observable Universe, but in fact made 40,000 different versions, each of them representing a possible Universe consistent with known galaxies. Hence, these 40,000 maps not only encode our present knowledge of the cosmic structure but their differences also show how unknown regions of the Universe might look.
The distribution of cosmic matter is only partially known since it mostly consists of mysterious dark matter, which we neither see nor know. The visible galaxies trace solely the rough outline of the highly complex network of matter concentrations and filaments, very like the lights of cities on a dark coast line permit us to imagine the countries beyond. At the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), a novel computer program for cosmic cartography was developed which permitted an international cosmography team to calculate a three-dimensional high-resolution map of our cosmic neighborhood, that shows the distribution of the invisible dark matter in great detail.