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Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Great Attractor: A force pulling our galaxy in the direction of something unseen

Four hundred galaxies, including our own, were observed by astronomers to be drawn in the same direction.

With the discovery in 1929 that a galaxy’s redshift is directly proportionate to its distance, we were able to measure distant galaxies and as a result, we were able to determine that most of them are moving away from us, supporting the theory of an expanding universe.

This information ultimately resulted in a somewhat disconcerting revelation, in addition to teaching us more about the structure and growth of the cosmos. The “Zone of Avoidance” is the region of the sky that is hidden by the galactic plane of our own galaxy and the cosmic dust that is contained inside it. Astronomers studying 400 elliptical galaxies found that these galaxies were traveling in the direction of something that is not visible to us. Whatever it was, a lot of mass is needed to shift a lot of galaxies. We are being pulled toward something enormous, even if we cannot see it.

Is it now appropriate to rip apart each other’s brains and indulge in the goo inside? No. We know very well what we’re (not) looking at, even if it’s still mostly hidden by the Zone of Avoidance. Ninety percent of galaxies are believed to live within “superclusters,” which are formed when galaxies cluster together as seen by looking at neighboring galaxies in the sky.

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The Milky Way, which is already a member of the Virgo Supercluster, is most likely contained within an even bigger structure made up of some 100,000 galaxies, according to research done in 2014 by a team studying the migration of galaxies.

“Local flows within the region converge toward the Norma and Centaurus clusters in good approximation to the location of what has been called the ‘Great Attractor’,” the researchers stated in their article. “The area is worthy of a name. “Lani” means “heaven” and “akea” means “spacious, immeasurable” in Hawaiian. We suggest that our galaxy is a member of the Laniakea Supercluster.”

The Great Attractor, the primary gravitational point of our local region of the universe, is not something to be feared; rather, it is where our local galaxies are flocking to hang out. Unfortunately, as is the fate of all other superclusters out there, the expansion of the universe will ultimately take us all apart from the cluster’s influence, including any lonely galaxies wanting to meet other singles in their locality.


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I’m Olafare Michael Oluwabukola, a young enthusiast with an insatiable curiosity for the mysteries of science and technology. As a passionate explorer of knowledge, I envisioned a platform that could not only keep us all informed about the latest breakthroughs but also inspire us to marvel at the wonders that surround us.
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