Science: Mysterious Gap

Astronomers detect a vast void

Fixing their gazes on the heavens, astronomers from Ptolemy to Hubble have studied moons, planets and stars. Recently four American astronomers tried a different approach. They concentrated not on the stars but on the space that surrounds them.

Using telescopes on Kitt Peak and Mount Hopkins in Arizona and Mount Palomar in California, they photographed patches of the night sky and got two-dimensional pictures showing the distribution of matter in a sector of space. To add the perspective of depth they used an astronomical yardstick called the red shift, a measure of how far an object has traveled...

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