Space is a really big place. In fact, our universe is more massive and expansive than we can probably ever fully understand. To give us a taste of just how big everything is, the scientists using the eROSITA X-ray telescope have created the largest X-ray map of the universe ever.
The map, which is part of the eROSITA All-Sky Survey catalog, showcases two different representations of the night sky, giving us a beautiful and unique way to look at our universe. Of course, this map is far from a complete record of the universe–it’s just too big to capture with any of the tech we have right now.
Still, it’s impossible not to look at this map and be absolutely astounded by just how much it has managed to capture. As the most detailed X-ray map of the universe that we have ever crafted, the map showcases more than 900,000 stars, galaxies, and black holes.
With maps like this, scientists using telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope can pick new targets for observations, allowing us even more in-depth analysis of the universe. The data for the map was captured using sky scans from December 2019 to June 2020, and it detected more than 170 million X-ray photos in the sky.
The researchers involved with the creation of the map say that these 170 million X-ray photos together helped identify over 900,000 distinct objects in space, many of which are likely supermassive black holes. They say that this mission detected more in six months than flagship missions like the XMM-Newton and Chandra have in close to 25 years of operating.
The researchers also believe they may have discovered a piece of the cosmic web, the vast highway of gas that feeds the universe, though the research has not been peer-reviewed yet, so these claims cannot be verified.