Using light from 14,000 distant yet powerful cosmic beacons, astronomers have pieced together the largest and most detailed 3-D map of the ancient universe between 10 billion and 12 billion light-years away. Read full article here. To create the map, an instrument called the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, or BOSS was used to analyze light from individual quasars. Quasars are extremely bright galaxies that are very far away, which means, when detected, are also very far back in time. At the center of each, a black hole is eating matter. The matter heats up to such superhigh temperatures that it shines like crazy,” Slosar said. “This allows us to see them from very, very far away. The analytical process is similar to an ice core sample removed from Antarctica. Looking straight on, the core looks like a circle or a point. But slice by slice, one can reconstruct events of the past. In the case of the 3-D map, astronomers can chart the development of galaxy clusters between 10 billion and 12 billion years ago.