This visualisation is a flight through the ‘cosmic web’, the large scale structure of the Universe.

Each bright knot is an entire galaxy, while the purple filaments show where material exists between the galaxies. To the human eye, only the galaxies would be visible, and this visualization allows us to see the strands of material connecting the galaxies and forming the cosmic web. The visualization is based on a scientific simulation of the growth of structure in the Universe. A region of dark matter and dark energy is followed from very early times through to the present day, using the equations of gravity, hydrodynamics, and cosmology. The normal matter has been clipped to show only the densest regions, which are the galaxies, and shown in white. The dark matter is shown in purple. The size of the simulation is a cube with a side length of 134 megaparsecs (437 million light-years).

Visualisation by Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute. Simulation by Martin White, UC Berkeley and Lars Hernquist, Harvard University.

Category: Astronomy, Cosmology
Running time:
 1.5 mins
Released in: 2015Suitable for: KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5, Adults