Feeds

You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Did you know there's a hundred QUADRILLION suns in our Laniakea neighbourhood?

Business security measures using SSL

Astronomers have finally figured out just where the heck in the Universe we are – and it turns out to be the suburbs of a galactic supercluster now known as Laniakea.

Galaxies don’t tend to be scattered throughout the Universe willy-nilly; they tend to bunch up into clusters, groups and superclusters. Our Local Group contains dozens of galaxies that are in massive clusters of hundreds of galaxies, all connected by a web of filaments that are made up of, you guessed it, yet more galaxies.

When these filaments intersect, you get even more immense structures called superclusters, which are also interconnected, but have less well-defined boundaries – making them harder to map.

An international team of astronomers, led by University of Hawaii scientist R Brent Tully, have become the first to map the huge supercluster of galaxies that contains the Milky Way and have named the region Laniakea, the Hawaiian for “immense heaven”.

Our place in the Laniakea supercluster

To get the lines drawn on the map, the researchers studied the impact of superclusters on the motion of galaxies. Like everything else in the Universe, galaxies are moving around under the force of gravity, but a galaxy in between two superclusters will be pulled in both directions. The exact way in which these gravitational forces end up balancing out will determine how the galaxy-in-the-middle moves.

By figuring out the velocity of galaxies in our local neighbourhood, the boffins were able to define the region of space where each supercluster dominates.

It turns out that the Milky Way is in the ‘burbs of the Laniakea supercluster, which is 500 million light years in diameter and contains the mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies. Our own galaxy sits on the border that Laniakea shares with another supercluster, Perseus-Pisces.

The full study, simply titled 'The Laniakea supercluster of galaxies', was published in Nature. ®

Video of the astronomers' findings as published in their paper.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.