What is the Cosmic Web?
The Cosmic Web is the name given to the structure that the known Universe is built on. Think of being on the inside of a giant sponge. That’s how our Universe is built.
How did it get that shape?
After the Big Bang, well… BANGED… the Universe spread rapidly and evenly throughout our dimension (the 3D space we occupy). Once it spread out so far, the energy gave way to the first element, Hydrogen, as it cooled. Then gravity took over, coalescing the gas clouds together into the first stars. As the the Stellar Lifecycle progressed, matter got heavier and more stuff clumped together. This gave rise to the sponge-like structures.
How did those astronomy nerds figure that shit out?
They took a small section of the Hubble Deep Field and accrued tons of data on the most distant galaxies and objects. They determined size, mass, speed, and distance using the most advanced methods available. Then, they fed that info into a computer and produced a 3D model that was our first glimpse into it’s overall structure.
Have they seen it?
As a matter of fact, they believe they have! Astronomers have discovered a distant quasar illuminating a vast nebula of diffuse gas, spanning 2 million light-years across intergalactic space! That’s right, connecting two clusters like a filament! [Pictured Right]
The BIG Picture
The picture below represents 500,000 galaxies in the Cosmic Web. Each of the yellow dots is an ENTIRE GALAXY. That’s @ 200 billion stars each. The largest portions of the structure (@ 84%) are in purple, representing Dark Matter and Dark Energy. You can get lost in it. Despite the fact that this map equals only 0.000001% of the Known Universe, that’s 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 10×10^2 stars you’re looking at! That’s countless planets with countless moons, untold comets, asteroids, black holes, and nebulae. Soak it up.
My God, it’s full of stars! – Dave Bowman’s final words