cosmic web
Northeastern University

Cosmologists have long thought that the universe is made up of galaxies tethered together by gravity. But what on earth does this ‘cosmic web’ actually look like?

That’s what researchers at Northeastern University’s Center For Complex Network Research have been working on. They created three computer models of possible links between 24,000 galaxies, and then compared them to the actual night sky. Their research was published in ArXiv earlier this month, but a more visually appealing product of their research is described on the lab’s website.

While the actual connections between galaxies remain invisible (gravity isn’t something we can see directly), the visualizations allow you to explore the spiderweb-like connections between the galaxies, zooming in and out and manipulating the miniature universe. It’s lovely, and could also help mathematically explain the structure of our universe. Pretty amazing.

The visualization is also in the running for the people’s choice award in Science Magazine’s Data Stories competition.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]