Our new address: Laniakea, the “immeasurable heaven”

Posted by Concettina Sfienti on December 29, 2014

Image Credit: R. Brent Tully (U. Hawaiiet al., SDvision, DP, CEA/Saclay

 

Scientists have recently mapped the supercluster of galaxies that includes our Milky way. They have named our supercluster Laniakea, which in Hawaiian means “immeasurable heaven”.

How … you might ask? They have used a database which comprises the velocities of 8000 galaxies and used an algorithm to convert these velocities into a 3D field of galaxy flow and density. In this way they found a way to measure how galaxies influence one another, rather than seeing them directly, and therefore they could map undiscovered regions of the Universe

Home generalities: Laniakea comprises approx. 100000 galaxies and it is 160 megaparsec (…never heard about it?…well it’s about 500 million light years –> we are speaking about 500 × 1022 meters!) and it weights 1017 solar masses. 

Mind blowing? Not yet? Then have a look here:

Here the link to the original paper:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7516/full/nature13674.html

…and a very good quick review for everyone:

http://www.nature.com/news/earth-s-new-address-solar-system-milky-way-laniakea-1.15819

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