RESEARCHERS at Durham University have played a significant part in helping an international team of scientists produce the most detailed 3D map of the Universe so far.

Working over the last seven months, scientists have been working on a Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which has broken all 3D galaxy survey records.

However, if it wasn’t for a component built by Durham University, which increases the telescope's field of view using 5,000 optical fibres, this might not have been possible.

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Durham is a key partner of DESI and helped design and build the new telescope instrument.

Prof Carlos Frenk from its Institute for Computational Cosmology, has said that the research done on this project has the potential to tell us how the universe is evolving over time.

Professor Frenk has also spoken about his excitement moving forward with the project.

Here's a few of the amazing maps and images that the researchers have managed to get so far: 

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

He said: "This will help us to search for clues about the nature of dark energy.

"We will also learn more about the dark matter and the role it plays in how galaxies like the Milky Way form and how the universe is evolving."

Although it is already producing unprecedented outcomes, DESI is only about ten per cent through its five-year mission.

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Once completed, its phenomenally detailed 3-D map will give scientists a better understanding of dark energy – the mysterious substance that accounts for 70 per cent of the content in the universe and is speeding up its expansion.

This will help scientists determine if the universe will expand forever, collapse in on itself in a reverse Big Bang or rip itself apart.

Victoria Fawcett, a PhD researcher at Durham University's Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, added: "We're finding quite a lot of exotic systems including large samples of rare objects that we just haven't been able to study in detail before.

The Northern Echo: The Berkeley Lab where the main DESI experiment will be taking place over the next five years. Picture: BERKELEY LAB.The Berkeley Lab where the main DESI experiment will be taking place over the next five years. Picture: BERKELEY LAB.

Scientists are also using the data to understand the behaviour of medium-sized black holes in small galaxies.

The instrument’s data will go 11 billion years back in time, revealing clues about the evolution of quasars and their connection to the formation of galaxies.

DESI has already catalogued more than 7.5 million galaxies and is expected to have added another 27.5 million by the end of its run in 2026.

The collaboration is managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA.

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