A new movie created by David Kirkby (UC Irvine) shows the three-dimensional distribution of the Lyman-alpha “forest” (in blue) that appears in front of each of the 70,000 high-redshift quasars (yellow) in the preliminary BOSS DR9 sample. Only that portion of the forest where Lyman-alpha absorption is visible to the BOSS spectrograph is shown. Transparent spheres at redshifts of 2, 3 and 4 set the radial scale. Some of the gaps in the DR9 coverage will be filled in over the final years of the BOSS survey. The DR9 Lyman-alpha sample consists of about 32 million “pixels” of co-added spectral data, and almost 100 billion pixel pairs with 3D separations less than 200 Megaparsecs. The large volume sampled in DR9 offers an unprecedented map of the cosmological distribution of matter during an important earlier epoch in the interplay between dark matter and dark energy.
We show a frame of the movie here but you can get the movie at http://darkmatter.ps.uci.edu/lya-dr9/