Our home planet, Earth, circles the sun. The sun, our star, is but one of billions of stars in the Milky Way, our home galaxy… and beyond that? Where on the map of the cosmos is the Milky Way? For the first time, we know:
Superclusters – regions of space that are densely packed with galaxies – are the biggest structures in the Universe. But scientists have struggled to define exactly where one supercluster ends and another begins. Now, a team based in Hawaii has come up with a new technique that maps the Universe according to the flow of galaxies across space. Redrawing the boundaries of the cosmic map, they redefine our home supercluster and name it Laniakea, which means ‘immeasurable heaven’ in Hawaiian.
There are an estimated 100,000 galaxies in the Laniakea Supercluster, and we, meaning we in the Milky Way galaxy, are just at the edge of it.
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