Created from the same datasets and collaborative project as the two other Cosmos Archaeology installations (Virtual Orbital Visit and The Dynamic Universe) this 21-minute 3D movie offers a narrative survey and flythrough of the entire Universe. Starting from Earth, we travel through space and time from now, back 13.7 billion years to the outer perimeter of the cosmos, where we arrive at the cosmic microwave background and the point at beyond which our present technologies cannot see.
In recent years, a whole new vision and understanding of the Universe has been born of major cosmological scanning programs, such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Its significant datasets have revealed the properties of galaxies, the evolution of quasars, the structure and stellar populations of the Milky Way, the dwarf galaxy companions of our galaxy as well as that of M31, asteroids and other small bodies in the solar system, and the large-scale structure and matter and energy contents of the whole Universe.
Most amazingly of all, we have learned that the cosmos is filled with sheets of galaxies that curve through mostly empty space. Comparable to soap bubbles in a bath, these sheets seem to form dense filaments with voids between. Though not well understood, these voids appear to have been left behind as gravity pulled together matter into regions of greater density. These insights into the formation of the structure we now see in the Universe are a crucial part of reconstructing our cosmic history, as we apprehend so viscerally in the 3D adventure that is Archaeology of Light.