Throwback Thursday: Past the Fingers of God (Synopsis)

“On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise.” –Paul Ricoeur

What you see is what you get, except when it isn’t. We’re all familiar with Hubble’s law, or the notion that the Universe is expanding, and that the farther away you look, the faster you’ll see that distant galaxy moving away from you. This relation would be exact, if only the rest of the objects in the Universe didn’t exert gravitational forces on one another.

Image credit: Cosmic Flows Project/University of Hawaii, via http://www.cpt.univ-mrs.fr/.
Image credit: Cosmic Flows Project/University of Hawaii, via http://www.cpt.univ-mrs.fr/.

They do, however, leading to distortions that aren’t really there when we try and reconstruct maps of the Universe, known as “fingers” and “pancakes” of God. Thanks to some amazing physics, however, we can understand and remove these artifacts, allowing us to map the Universe on the largest scales to unprecedented accuracy.

Image credit: Tegmark, M., et al. 2004, ApJ, 606, 702.
Image credit: Tegmark, M., et al. 2004, ApJ, 606, 702.

Find out how on our Throwback Thursday (with some amazing videos), Past the Fingers of God.