With its dense clustering of colored dots, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, or BOSS, looks like a mapping of stars -- however, BOSS isn't a star map; it's a galactic map. In other words, each of the pixel-sized dots on the BOSS galactic map is an entire galaxy that contains about half a trillion stars.
The galactic map covers approximately one-quarter of space, or 650 billion cubic light years, so its staggering scale makes sense. Researchers within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III, who charted the map, measured sound waves that are a sort of echo from the Big Bang, allowing them to precisely estimate the galaxies' relative locations in space.
Scientific visualizations like the BOSS program give everyday laymen the opportunity to better understand the astronomical entity that is the universe.
3D Galactic Maps
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Marvelous Universe Photos
Stunning Spacewalk Photography
Galactic Art Galleries
Space Junk-Detecting Systems
Interactive Interstellar Events