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Join us on a journey through time going back 11 billion years

Join us on a journey through time going back 11 billion years

“It's a completely new type of astronomical mapping, which we can only now do on a large scale,” says Martin Sahlin, an astrophysicist at Uppsala University.

It's an instrument called DESI (Dark Energy Analysis Instrument) that has measured the coordinates of 16 million galaxies across the universe. Together they form a huge 3D map showing how the universe has evolved over time.


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Dark energy is becoming weaker

This week, the first analyzes of DESI maps were presented at a conference in American Physical Society.

– I think the most interesting thing scientifically about this study is that it indicates that the influence of dark energy is becoming weaker.

Dark energy is one of science's biggest mysteries. It is an unknown type of energy that the entire universe is filled with and that causes the galaxies of the universe as a whole to be pushed faster away from each other. Therefore, the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

Then the universe will die

Cosmologists have long assumed that dark energy is constant, meaning it does not change over time. If this turns out to be true, it would mean that the universe would expand faster than ever and become less dense and cooler until only radiation and individual particles remained.

If dark energy gets stronger, the universe could end up expanding so strongly that everything gets torn apart.

But if the initial results from DESI are correct and dark energy becomes weaker, this could instead cause the universe to stop expanding and instead collapse.

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– But it's something thousands of billions of years in the future, so we don't need to have nightmares about it now, says Martin Sahlen.

Take a tour of the cosmic time machine and play the video above.