Where are we in the Universe—“Our New Home called Laniakea Supercluster”

Posted and Written By: Margie Babon

 

Laniakea Supercluster2

The Laniakea Supercluster announced on Sept. 3, 2014 where the Milky Way is situated. Laniakea is a Hawaiian word means “immeasurable heaven.”

 

Lead researcher and scientist R. Brent Tully, an astronomer from University of Hawaii at Manoa had a brilliant new finding on where we are in the universe.  He and his team conduct a fascinating study for Nature, they clearly map out a supercluster where our galaxy Milky Way belongs to. By using Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and other radio telescopes,  the team was able to clearly map out the Laniakea Supercluster. The new identified galactic supercluster Laniakea was announced on September 3, 2014  by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  The paper work was in the cover story of September 4 issue of the journal Nature.

 

The Local Group

How to understand the Local Group

 

Superclusters are the largest structure in the Universe made up of Local group that contain thousands of galaxies all interconnected in a web filaments.

Laniakea Superclusters contains more than 100,00 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across. The Milky Way is just on the outskirts on one of the filaments, perched on the edge  of Laniakea Superclusters.

 

The galaxy Milky Way on the edge of the filament of Liniakea Supercluster

 

Ever since the Big Bang study, scientist found out that the universe is expanding and moving in certain pattern.  Through the studies led by Tully on the motion and movement of of 8,000 galaxies neighborhood including Milky Way, they create a map on how galaxies are moving towards a dense region called “The Great Attractor” and slowly pulling Milky Way and other galaxies towards it.

 

great_attracto

All galaxies and superclusters are moving towards The Great Attractor. Like a watershed, the water knows how to move into that direction.

 

The team of Tully has been able to clarify the role of the Great Attractor. “Laniakea motion inside the supercluster of galaxies is directed inward—in the direction of the constellation Centaurus—like the flow of watercourse that descends into the valley. The region of the Great Attractor is configured as the large hollow with a gravitational sphere of attraction that includes the entire extent of the supercluster itself.  It’s a little ‘how to look for a watershed on the Earth’s surface: a clear boundary from the top of the Rocky Mountains, but much less identifiable from the plain. Yet the water knows in which direction to go,” according to Tully.

 

Laniakea name was suggested by Nawa’a Napoloen, an associate professor of Hawaiian Language , University of Hawaii. The name honors the Polynesian navigators who used knowledge of the heavens to voyage across the immensity of the Pacific Ocean. Laniakea is a Hawaiian word which means ‘immeasurable heaven.”

 

laniakea_and_perseus-pisces.0

 

 

And what is more interesting, the boundary of Laniakea supercluster meets another supercluster known as Perseus-Pisces.  Laniakea and Persues-Pisces are just a small dot on a much much broader universe.

 

Laniakea is in turn pulled from an even larger cluster of galaxies called the Shapely Concentration.

 

Laniekea Supercluster

A larger supercluster called Shapley is pulling the Liniekea supercluster towards The Great Attractor

 

“It’s really huge and we are drawn towards it, we do not still have enough information to determine the profile of the Shapely Concentration. Could we be a part of something even bigger than Laniakea,” says Tully.

 

 

To understand more the new discovery of Laniakea Supercluster, Watch the detailed  video in this link:

Science 2.0

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/earths_new_address_isa_tiny_part_of_the_laniakea_galactic_supercluster-144102

 

 

Understanding the Structure of the Universe

mainimage_Millennium_simulation_500Mpch

The Structure of Universe in a large scale

This is how the universe looks on a very large scale. It’s not a photo but the outcome of a simulation called The Millennium Simulation that matches the observed distribution of galaxies in the universe visualizing the biggest structures of the universe, the filaments.

The distance from the left side of the image to the right side is 1,500 Mpc/h. The strange unit Mpc/h reflects that the distance depends on the exact value of the Hubble constant. With the best guess we have today, you can calculate this distance to be approximately 6.7 billion light years. In between the filaments there are voids, which are almost empty areas in the universe with diameters of between 40 million and 400 million light years.

 

 

mainimage_Millennium_simulation_125Mpch

Cluster of gaalxies and superclusters

One level deeper, you can see the structure in more detail. Still we see filaments, voids and, in the center of the image, a huge galaxy supercluster. You can see clusters of galaxies and superclusters, and still the whole image from left to right measures approximately 1.7 billion light years.

 

 

broader_universe_structure.0

Greenish part is called superclusters

The greenish central region of the image is a supercluster containing thousands of huge galaxies. Many other clusters of galaxies can be seen. The distance from the left to the right side of the image is more or less 400 million light years. Let’s zoom in one last time to see individual galaxies.

 

 

mainimage_Millennium_simulation_2Mpch

Close-up of the structure of the universe. White dots are galaxies and not stars.

Every dot in this image is a galaxy, not a star. You can see the distribution of dark matter in this image and the images before, but it’s almost the same as the distribution of galaxies. Even this image still covers a huge area; from left to right it’s a distance of approximately 45 million light years; the 2 Mpc/h represent almost 9 million light years. Remember that the Andromeda Galaxy is just 2.5 million light years away and the Large Magellanic Cloud only 160 000 light years.

 

 

great_attracto

The bigger challenge that the scientist and astronomer is facing now is to discover what is in the Great Attractor. And if all the galaxies and superclusters are moving towards it, how many billion of years will it take to reach that?  Who is the divine force behind this?

 

It is good to know that science is discovering fascinating knowledge about the universe. Once in a while, it is  good to know information about this. But we must keep our  focus on our priorities in life. And that means,  do the things we ought to do, maximize our skills and take steps towards our ambition and goals, living the best moment of our life.  Life on earth must go on. Live, Work and Love. 

 

“Isn’t it fascinating, the universe is full of mystery and you realize, the more we discover the deeper meaning of that mystery, mystery  is Love,  for Love is everything.”

 

 That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.” –Albert Einstein

 

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. “-Edwin Powell Hubble

 

 

Other References:

NBC news

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/add-line-our-galactic-address-laniakea-supercluster-n194841

 

National geographic 

http://www.nationalgeographic.it/scienza/spazio/2014/09/04/news/ai_confini_del_supercluster-2273574/

 

Science Daily

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903133319.htm

 

Journal Reference:

R. Brent Tully, Hélène Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman, Daniel Pomarède. The Laniakea supercluster of galaxiesNature, 2014; 513 (7516): 71 DOI:10.1038/nature13674

 

Credits:  Photos from Nature  and Sun.org

 

 

 

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