Scientists showed off the largest-scale color map of the universe in 3-D this month, as part of an effort to determine how matter has clumped together over the past few billion years. This visualization of the data was last week's "Where in the Cosmos" picture, offered for discussion on the Cosmic Log Facebook page.
It didn't take long for the Facebook folks to figure out what the picture showed. It's a sampling of luminous galaxies that helped astronomers involved in the Baryon Oscillation Spectrographic Survey, or BOSS, analyze the clustering of those galaxies on an incredibly vast scale. The BOSS researchers say their findings are consistent with the view that mysterious dark energy accounts for 73 percent of the density of the universe, with an uncertainty factor of less than 2 percent. The results were presented at the American Astronomical Society's winter meeting this month in Austin, Texas, and have been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal.
For figuring out so quickly what the "Where in the Cosmos" picture was all about, Cosmic Log Facebook friend Linz DeeGee is being sent a copy of John Gribbin's latest book, "Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique." She's also getting a pair of 3-D glasses.
Now there's a new "Where in the Cosmos" picture to chew over, from a nearby cosmic locale that's been in the news lately. Head on over to the Cosmic Log Facebook page to join the discussion, and please hit the "like" button if you haven't done so already. I'll fill you in on the picture and what it's all about next week.
Previously on 'Where in the Cosmos': Stephen Hawking's curios explained
Alan Boyle is msnbc.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter or adding Cosmic Log's Google+ page to your circle. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for other worlds.