Your cosmic address: The edge of the Laniakea supercluster

This is pretty cool: New Map Locates Milky Way in Neighborhood of 100,000 Galaxies.

A new map of the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood shows where our galaxy lives in relation to thousands of others nearby, with scientists giving the newly discovered “supercluster” of galaxies a name: Laniakea, which means “immeasurable heaven” in Hawaiian.

Throughout the universe, galaxies tend to clump together in massive structures that astronomers call superclusters. According to the new map, Earth’s galaxy lives near the edge of the Laniakea supercluster, which measures 500 million light-years in diameter and includes roughly 100,000 galaxies.

The region is just a small slice of the visible universe, which spans more than 90 billion light-years.

As someone who spends his share of time reading about astronomy, I’ve often wondered why most astronomical literature rarely identified the galactic supercluster that we live in, despite mentioning others like Coma or Perseus-Pisces.  I’ve occasionally heard our home supercluster called the Virgo supercluster, presumably after the Virgo cluster which is in our cosmic neighborhood.  But it turns out that our local supercluster wasn’t well mapped out and the “Virgo” name was unofficial.

Now it is official.  We live in the Laniakea supercluster.  Just to review our cosmic address:

  1. Earth
  2. Solar System
  3. Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way
  4. Milky Way galaxy
  5. Local Group (of galaxies)
  6. Laniakea Supercluster
  7. Universe

After that we get into speculative concepts like bubble multiverses.

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5 Responses to Your cosmic address: The edge of the Laniakea supercluster

  1. This is very, very cool to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. crestwind24 says:

    Great post! It’s crazy that this didnt have a name before. Glad to know our address is more complete now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Morris says:

    It’s good to know your home address, even if you have trouble pronouncing it correctly.

    Like

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