Where are we, Exactly? Mapping the Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 30 July 2019

 

ASTROPHYSICS

YOU ARE HERE
A Smoothed Rendition of the Structure Surrounding the Local Void
Local Void in our Neighborhood of the Universe, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

A smoothed rendition of the structure surrounding the Local Void. Our Milky Way galaxy lies at the origin of the red-green-blue orientation arrows (each 200 million lightyears in length). We are at a boundary between a large, low density void, and the high density Virgo cluster. University of Hawaii at Manoa.

 

Where are we, exactly?

Astronomers Map Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood,
University of Hawaii at Manoa, July 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"The universe is a tapestry of galaxy congregations and vast voids."

"...our Milky Way galaxy is also at the edge of an extensive empty region that they called the Local Void. The existence of the Local Void has been widely accepted, but it remained poorly studied because it lies behind the center of our galaxy and is therefore heavily obscured from our view."

Objective
"...to map the size and shape of an extensive empty region they called the Local Void that borders the Milky Way galaxy. Using the observations of galaxy motions, they infer the distribution of mass responsible for that motion, and construct three-dimensional maps of our local Universe."

"...measured the motions of 18,000 galaxies in the Cosmicflows-3 compendium of galaxy distances, constructing a cosmographic map that highlights the boundary between the collection of matter and the absence of matter that defines the edge of the Local Void. They used the same technique in 2014 to identify the full extent of our home supercluster of over one hundred thousand galaxies, giving it the name Laniakea, meaning "immense heaven" in Hawaiian."

(see, "Big Picture," article below)

Galactic Motion
"...astronomers have been trying to identify why the motions of the Milky Way, our nearest large galaxy neighbor Andromeda, and their smaller neighbors deviate from the overall expansion of the Universe by over 600 km/s (1.3 million mph). The new study shows that roughly half of this motion is generated "locally" from the combination of a pull from the massive nearby Virgo Cluster and our participation in the expansion of the Local Void as it becomes ever emptier."

Local Void in Motion
Local Void in Motion, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Shaded gray contours outline the extent of the Local Void, while blue dots show major mass constituents (large galaxies, galaxy groups, and clusters). The curved blue lines show the derived motions of these massive objects, after removing the overall expansion of the universe. The most important galaxy congregations are given special symbols, like the red ball identifying the Virgo Cluster. The dominant pattern of motions revealed by the orbits is a flow away from the Local Void. University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Simply Stated
"...relative to the overall expansion (of the universe) they are moving towards the densest areas and away from regions with little mass - the voids. "

 

Let's explore the Universe...

Atlas of the Universe
The Universe within 100 million Light Years
The Virgo Supercluster

The Visible Universe
The Universe within 14 billion Light Years

 

The Big Picture
Informative
Supercluster Article

See It All Yourself
Sky Wheel & Star Chart

 

What's going on, "internally," inside all these concentrations of gravity & mass?
Star Operations, Supernova Explosions, & Neutron Star Collisions: How Elements are Created

 

 

Astro-Physics Observations, Summer & Fall of 2019

News of Man & Nature, July 2019

 

 

 

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astronomy, astrophysics news, local void, Milky Way Galaxy, density, motion, structure, mapped

 

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