We Now Have an Idea of Just How Immeasurable the Heavens Are

You're smaller than you think


Sat, Sep 6th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the Los Angeles Times, with a three-dimensional map of the galaxies around us and their respective velocities, researchers determined that the Milky Way is part of a supercluster of galaxies they've dubbed Laniakea, a Hawaiian word that means immeasurable heaven. The cluster, which "holds 100,000 galaxies with the mass of a hundred million billion suns", is "500 million light years across." The overall picture looks more like the aftermath of an explosion, with debris all flying away from the epicentre.

[...] a team of cosmic cartographers used the Superflows-2 database, a catalog of the motions of galaxies, to tease apart these movements. For each of more than 8,000 galaxies, they subtracted the expansion-related movement from the overall motions — leaving only the local, gravitationally driven movement.

The researchers found that the galaxies were flowing along these long, beautiful lines, many of them toward a gravitational dense basin of galaxies known as the Great Attractor. The boundary between those flowing toward this spot and those flowing away marked the edges of the galaxy supercluster.

Wait, what? Great Attractor? Wikipedia defines it as such:

The first indications of a deviation from uniform expansion of the universe were reported in 1973 and again in 1978. The location of the Great Attractor was finally determined in 1986, and is situated at a distance of somewhere between 150 and 250 Mly (million light years) (47–79Mpc) (the latter being the most recent estimate) from the Milky Way, in the direction of the constellations Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) and Norma (The Carpenter’s Square).[1] While objects in that direction lie in the Zone of Avoidance (the part of the night sky obscured by the Milky Way galaxy) and are thus difficult to study with visible wavelengths, X-ray observations have revealed that the region of space is dominated by the Norma cluster (ACO 3627),[2][3] a massive cluster of galaxies containing a preponderance of large, old galaxies, many of which are colliding with their neighbours, and/or radiating large amounts of radio waves.



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