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­sing Artificial Intelligence to Chart the ­niverse


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Small cosmic web

An image of a slice through the local universe, 370 million light years on each side. The red circles mark the positions of galaxies observed with the 2MRS survey which measured the positions and distances of over 45000 galaxies. The blue circles are random points (galaxies) inserted to smooth the map across the "zone of avoidance" where nearby gas and dust in our galaxy blocks the view of more distant objects. These data are superimposed on the light and dark background of the cosmic web of galaxies modelled by Kitaura et al using an artificial intelligence algorithm.

Credit: Francisco Kitaura, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam

Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to help chart and explain the structure and dynamics of the universe.

The universe consists of 5 percent normal matter, 23 percent dark matter, and 72 percent dark energy. "Finding the dark matter distribution corresponding to a galaxy catalog is like trying to make a geographical map of Europe from a satellite image during the night that only shows the light coming from dense populated areas," says Leibniz researcher Francisco Kitaura.

The algorithm starts with the fluctuations in the density of the universe seen in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, then models the way that matter collapses into today's galaxies over the subsequent 13 billion years. "Our precise calculations show that the direction of motion and 80 percent of the speed of the galaxies that make up the Local Group can be explained by the gravitational forces that arise from matter up to 370 million light years away," Kitaura says. He also notes that "with the help of AI, we can now model the universe around us with unprecedented accuracy and study how the largest structures in the cosmos came into being."

From Royal Astronomical Society
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


 

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