Large scale structure of dark matter in COSMOS survey field
This map shows the distribution of dark matter in the Universe. The brightness of clumps corresponds to the density of mass. The map covers an area of sky nine times the angular diameter of the full Moon, and is the largest sample of the distribution of dark matter ever obtained. It demonstrates how normal matter - including stars, galaxies and gas - is built inside an underlying scaffolding of dark matter [see related images]. The comparison of dark matter and normal matter will provide critical observational underpinnings to future theories for how structure formed in the evolving Universe under the relentless pull of gravity.
The map was derived from the Hubble Space Telescope's largest ever survey of the Universe, the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS), carried out by an international team of 70 astronomers. In making the COSMOS survey, Hubble photographed 575 adjacent and slightly overlapping views of the universe using the Advanced Camera for Surveys' (ACS) Wide Field Camera onboard Hubble. It took nearly 1000 hours of observations. The distances to the galaxies were determined from their spectral redshifts, using ESO's Very Large Telescope, the Subaru and CFHT telescopes in Hawaii and the Magellan telescope in Chile.