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Astronomers map our local cosmic void

7 Aug 2019, 10:52 UTC
Astronomers map our local cosmic void
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View larger. | When you look at this artist’s rendition of the large-scale structure surrounding our Milky Way, you’ve got to think big! See the Milky Way? Those red-green-blue arrows each represent a distance 200 million light-years in length. According to new research, we’re at a boundary between our Local Void, and the high-density Virgo galaxy cluster. Image via R. Brent Tully/ IfA.
Astronomers have published a new study showing more of the vast cosmic structure surrounding our Milky Way galaxy. In recent decades, they’ve realized that our universe has a vast honeycomb structure, consisting of great conglomerations of galaxies interspersed with vast cosmic voids. A team that measured the motions of 18,000 galaxies has now used those motions to infer how mass is distributed in our neighborhood of space. They’ve constructed three-dimensional maps of our local universe, showing the Milky Way’s place with respect to our local cosmic void, which they call the Local Void. This work was led by R. Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA). In 2014, he led research identifying the full extent of our home supercluster of over one hundred thousand galaxies, giving it the name Laniakea, meaning “immense heaven” ...

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