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26 May 2011, 09:05
The most complete 3D map of the universe has been unveiled by Portsmouth based astronomers.
The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) from the University of Portsmouth extends to a distance of 380 million light years and has taken 10 years to complete.
It extends closer than previous surveys to the galactic plane - a region that is generally obscured by dust.
The survey has mapped in detail areas previously hidden behind the Milky Way to better understand the impact they have on its motion in relation to the rest of the universe.
Karen Masters from the University of Portsmouth presented the map in a press conference at the 218th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She said: "The 2MASS Redshift Survey is a wonderfully complete new look at the local universe - particularly near the galactic plane.
"A galaxy's light is 'redshifted' or stretched to longer wavelengths by the expansion of the universe. The farther the galaxy, the greater its redshift, so redshift measurements yield galaxy distances.
"It's the vital third dimension in a 3D map and will enable cosmologists to study the area in much more detail."