A THREE-dimensional map of the Universe reaching deeper into space and time than ever before is to be drawn up by 200 scientists, including some from the North-East.

The map will be produced using the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which will observe light from more than 30 million distant galaxies.

Durham University scientists will work on the instrument, which it is hoped will improve understanding of dark energy and how it affects the expansion history of the Universe and also dark matter.

Experts hope it will reveal how dark energy and gravity have competed to shape the Universe.

DESI, which will weigh five tonnes, will be mounted on the four-metre Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, USA.

It will start recording data in 2019 and run for five years.

Dr Jeremy Allington-Smith, associate director at the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation at Durham University, said: “In Durham we have developed the expertise to produce extremely efficient fibre runs, which means that almost all of the precious light from these faint objects is usable at the end. It’s great to put this expertise to such an important use.”