What can humans know about space? Although humans have a large number of professional telescopes at their disposal, most of the universe is a mystery to us. Scientists estimate that we have discovered about 5% of the universe. Few people can imagine how big the known universe is and what objects it consists of. Pablo Carlos Budassi created a unique infographic, which is supplemented with information from scientists from Princeton University and updated as of May 2022.
What does a map of the known universe show?
Objects on the map are not shown to exact scale because smaller objects would be too small to be seen on the map. Each object’s distance from the Earth is measured on a logarithmic scale, which increases exponentially, in order to fit in all the data. Within our Solar System, the map’s scale spans astronomical units (AU), roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Beyond, it grows to measure millions of parsecs, with each one of those equal to 3.26 light-years, or 206,000 AU.
(Click on the map to enlarge)
The map starts with our solar system and ends with the microwave radiation left over from the big bang. The total age of the universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years. The greatest distance that can be observed is 47.7 billion light years away. Even if an image of many cosmic objects reaches us, some of them may no longer exist because we are watching an image that is many millions of years old. With the help of telescopes, we are basically looking into the past.
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