New Delhi: Scientists studying the space and the millions of galaxies within it have made a startling and rather unsettling discovery. A mysterious and absolutely massive gravitational anomaly is pulling us and our galactic neighbours toward itself at the rate of 600 km/s or 1.3 million miles per hour – and scientists call the force THE GREAT ATTRACTOR.
Astronomers mapping the observable universe — looking at 400 elliptical galaxies — noticed that they (the galaxies) are moving towards something we cannot see, as it is in the “Zone of Avoidance”, or the area of sky obscured by our own galaxy’s galactic plane and the cosmic dust within it, reports IFL Science.
Whatever it was, to move a large number of galaxies requires a lot of mass. We can’t see it, but we are being dragged towards something gigantic.
How is the distance between galaxies measured?In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble – also called a “pioneer of the distant stars,” – noticed that distant galaxies looked redder than those nearby. Moreover, the further away they are, the redder they tend to look. This observation, known as redshift, allowed us to measure the distances to galaxies too distant to determine by other means.
Hubble brought the discovery that how ‘redshifted’ a galaxy is, is directly proportional to its distance, giving us a way to measure distant galaxies, leading to the discovery that the majority are moving away from us (and giving support to the idea of an expanding universe). Moreover, the further away they are, the redder they tend to look. This observation revealed that in the expanding universe all its components flying apart from each other unless they are close enough that gravity holds them together.
By looking at the flow of galaxies, a team in 2014 found the Milky Way, already part of the Virgo Supercluster, is likely within an even larger structure containing around 100,000 galaxies. The team of scientists were from the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii (Honolulu, USA), Institut de Physique Nucleaire (Lyon, France), and Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel).
The team of researchers wrote in the paper that they submitted for publication after the study: “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 region deserves a name. In the Hawaiian language ‘lani’ means ‘heaven’ and ‘akea’ means ‘spacious, immeasurable’. We propose that we live in the Laniakea Supercluster of galaxies.”
Will The Great Attractor Swallow Our World?
The Great Attractor, rather than anything to be afraid of, is where our local galaxies are heading to hang out, the central gravitational point of our local area of the universe. Unfortunately for any lonely galaxies hoping to meet other singles in their area, the expansion of the universe will eventually rip us all apart from the cluster’s influence, as is the fate of the other superclusters out there. So, though we cannot see what is pulling our world in a specific direction towards a massive force, it will not swallow us. But the expansion of the universe will eventually rip us all apart from the cluster’s influence, as is the fate of the other superclusters out there, scientists say.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)