Johns Hopkins University (JHU) continues to pad its space community résumé with its interactive map, “The map of the observable Universe,” that takes viewers on a 13.7-billion-year-old tour of the cosmos from the present to the moments after the Big Bang. While JHU is responsible for creating the site, additional contributions were made by NASA, the European Space Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation.
The map: A user’s guide
The main page encourages you to scroll down as the viewer watches the number of celestial objects increase and then brings them to a 90-degree view of the night sky that has all 13.7 billion years of the cosmos right there in front of them. While this opening page serves as the summary of the interaction, the “explore the map” and “description” links at the bottom of the page allow the viewer to examine the map in more detail.
“Explore the map” lets the viewer scroll back in time in 100-million-year increments all the way to the edge of the observable universe, also known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, while they are provided detailed descriptions of various celestial objects during their journey, which include several types of galaxies and quasars.
“Description” does an excellent job answering questions in detail that the viewer might be asking throughout their journey pertaining to both the map and the instruments that were used to gather the data. These include easy-to-understand figures and diagrams.
At the bottom, the viewer is also given the option to either download or purchase the map for their own personal or educational purposes.
Overall, this interactive map is small, easy to use, and concise in its ability to share the entirety of the cosmos with easy-to-understand descriptions that are likely suitable for astronomy lovers as young as grade school.
If you want a crash course on the history of our universe, then check out “The map of the observable Universe” from Johns Hopkins University!