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New map shows Milky Way lives in Laniakea galaxy complex

Published on Sep 4, 2014 4:41 AM
 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The Milky Way galaxy resides on the outskirts of a massive, previously unknown galaxy super-cluster scientists have named Laniakea, from Hawaiian words for "immeasurable heaven."

The discovery, reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature, stems from a new mapping technique that combines not only the distances between more than 8,000 nearby galaxies, but also their relative motions.

The technique enables astronomers for the first time to clearly delineate where one super-cluster of galaxies ends and another gravitationally bound super-cluster structure begins.

The new maps show the Milky Way galaxy, along with the Virgo cluster and some 100,000 other galaxies, are gravitationally sailing in the same gigantic cosmic pool, named Laniakea.

 
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