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Space Earth

Welcome To Laniakea, Our New Cosmic Home 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-the-cosmic-heart-is dept.
astroengine writes Using a new mapping technique that takes into account the motions — and not just the distances — of nearby galaxies, astronomers discovered that the Milky Way is located in the suburb of a massive, previously unknown super-cluster they named Laniakea, a term from Hawaiian words meaning "immeasurable heaven." Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize. The super-cluster spans 520 million light-years in diameter, more than five times larger than the cluster previously believed to be the Milky Way's cosmic home.
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Welcome To Laniakea, Our New Cosmic Home

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:33PM (#47818809) Homepage Journal

    So I get the idea of the new grouping. Some things we used to consider our neighbors, we're actually just flying past and have no long term connection to.

    I get why that's useful. But I don't get why it'd replace our existing grouping. For a human lifespan, that grouping is all but permanent.

    • by kruach aum (1934852) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:42PM (#47818913)

      It replaces the new grouping in much the same way Einstein replaced Newtonian mechanics. It is a more accurate description of our place in the universe, just as relativity is a more accurate description of moving bodies, even if on human scales the two are nearly indistinguishable.

    • If we were only thinking in terms of human lifespans, most science would be irrelevant. Geology and climatology? That stuff hardly changes in a human lifetime! Astronomy? Why bother with anything beyond Pluto?

      Thinking within a human lifespan is very short sighted for anything but what you want to achieve before you die. You could even argue that the grouping is practically permanent for the lifespan of our species, but that grouping would still be technically wrong compared to our best knowledge.

      • Bullshit on so many fronts.

        Let's start with your mischarcterization of sciences, then go to your mischaracterization of my post.
        Climatology affects a shit ton of day-to-day life. Absolutely 100% vital for modern agricultural planning, even setting asside that climate change is more immediate than you're giving it credit for. Geology is markedly relevant to anyone doing resource exploration, today, on top of its importance in seismology and vulcanology.

        So that's bullshit #1. Those things do, in fact, have

    • Based on these recent discoveries it would appear the old copernican relative heliocentric perception of time needs some serious adjustments, since degree based graduations are now degraded to sub galactic time with the new super galactic model...

      I wonder what time it really is based on this time scale.
      Anyone has any idea?
  • 'Musican (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:36PM (#47818835)
    If it is that fat it must be an American super cluster.
    • You want Dark Matter with that for a dollar more?
  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:39PM (#47818871)
    The Universe was such a nice place before all this suburban sprawl took over. Stupid commuters.
  • Just 520M LY? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:47PM (#47818949) Homepage

    Hell, that's less than 160 MegaParsecs. Not that much bigger than the already-cramped Virgo Supercluster at 33MPa. Still the name is quite nice.

  • LOL ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @01:48PM (#47818959) Homepage

    Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize

    Your momma so fat ...

    • by Khyber (864651)

      It's sad that this is probably one of the last places this kind of joke can be made, since Fark took the shit plunge.

  • by DarkOx (621550)

    Just what we needed another taxing authority.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @02:06PM (#47819075) Homepage Journal
    1 cubic light year of water [wolframalpha.com] should weight thousands of times more than it, at least if there is enough oxigen in the universe to make that cube.
  • You know, if you keep building more and more high ways the cities will sprawl uncontrollably. Al Gore warned us about it back in 2000. (If he had not, he would have, I mean at least it is the sort of thing he would have warned about). Now we have sprawled to some 500 million light year diameter. When you face that impossibly long commute, remember that prophetic sage.
    • You know, if you keep building more and more high ways the cities will sprawl uncontrollably. Al Gore warned us about it back in 2000. (If he had not, he would have, I mean at least it is the sort of thing he would have warned about). Now we have sprawled to some 500 million light year diameter. When you face that impossibly long commute, remember that prophetic sage.

      Al Gore is not a prophet

  • What was I about to say? Oh - yes. And all this vast space with dark matter and dark energy and galaxies and gas and stars and planets. And if there's nothing intelligible there, nothing intelligent, no thought whatsoever. Just physical world, nohingness filled with the quiet and sometimnes not so quiet clockwork of time and physics and particles. Then us, we, here -- do we even exist?

  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @02:43PM (#47819559)
    . . . the further we're able to look, the larger the structures we'll be able to perceive.
  • Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stardner (3660081)
    We've gone from a geocentric model to being part of a galactic super-cluster. It seems to me that our reality is fractal in nature; and it wouldn't surprise me if at every step we find our reality to be a cell of a much larger one.
  • Misplaced? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @03:02PM (#47819765) Journal

    I can't click-open the article. Imagine if we slashdotted an entire Beowulf cluster of galaxies.

    Seriously, though, how could we have missed that many nearby galaxies for so long? Did we not see them, underestimate their size, miscalculate their location or direction due to dust being in the way?

  • One wonders how long it will be until it's entirely represented in Elite: Dangerous. :)
  • ..we go from 520 million light years in our local group to what? 46 billion light years of known universe, shy of 28 billion light years observable? If this new label represents a neighbourhood, then the universe is what, a small town?

    Where's the difficulty in conceptualising?

    • If the small town has about 100 neighborhoods. If the universe is 10x10 street blocks then this is like finding the street you live on?
      • by ihtoit (3393327)

        I grew up on a housing estate, I went to a school where I knew the names of every one of the other 740 students there and all 44 teachers. I knew where most of them lived as well - every one of them within two miles of my home. That four square miles was way more than a hundred square blocks (though you couldn't really refer to unplanned urban sprawl as being anything like "block"-y, it is certainly more than ten vehicle streets to a side).

        • Either way how you scale this still seems like it's finding our place is a now much smaller universe. This is going to be some of the last stuff that's observable to us.
  • Laniakea is also a place in Oahu I used to live, so my first thought is why does anyone care who moves to a little town on an island.
  • just saying..
  • It's crazy how lost we can be in the universe. I mean, we might get a new home in the immensity anytime soon.

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