Astronomy

When will the Milky Way “arrive” at the Great Attractor, and what all happen then?

When will the Milky Way “arrive” at the Great Attractor, and what all happen then?


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The Great Attractor is described as a location to towards which the Milky Way, along with all other galaxies in the Laniakea Supercluster are moving. How long will it take for the Milky Way to "arrive" there, and what will happen when it does - what, in fact does "arrive" mean in this context?


I don't want to make any assumptions here regarding the Milky Way's presence in the Laniakea Supercluster simply because of how recent the discovery is. The findings could very well be accurate, but I don't want to base this answer off of them. Fortunately, I've found a few papers that get us around that little issue, as well as the University of Hawaii's site, that led me to them . Coincidentally, one paper bears the name of one of the researchers who recently announced the Laniakea findings, R. Brent Tully, who was also involved with the other.

The two papers (here and here) suggest that, no matter whether the Virgo Supercluster is or is not part of the Laniakea Supercluster, the Local Group (and by extension the Milky Way) is not being pulled toward the Great Attractor. Instead, it is headed for other galaxy superclusters beyond the Great Attractor, including the Shapely Supercluster.

The idea that the Milky Way is not moving directly towards the Great Attractor could render the question moot, except that it simply shifts the destination: What will happen when the Local Group reaches the further superclusters?

Well, we don't [yet] know. As the papers say, there are a number of sources "pulling" on the Local Group, and so we can't say for sure just where the Local Group will wind up. This means that we also can't set a definitive timetable for the arrival. Finally, modeling galaxies with precision is not easy. Some theorists have used models in general relativity that treat many galaxies as grains of dust, so getting more specific is tough! We won't know just what will happen during after the "arrival" until we get a lot more data. Even the composition of the Great Attractor itself is rather mysterious.

I'll end with that odd term, "arrival". As the article you referenced (which, unfortunately, misses a lot of the better points of the findings, such as actually describing Laniakea) says,

The giant structures making up the universe often have unclear boundaries.

That's true on a smaller scale, too (see Where does the Milky Way end? for an interesting discussion). We do know which galaxies are in the Local Group, but not where the Group's gravitational influence ends and other galaxy groups begin to dominate. We could define "arriving", though, at the instant that the destination supercluster beings to attract one of the galaxies in the Local group that are further out, instead of the now-probably-merged Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. At that point, the Local Group could be distorted by the gravity of the galaxies in the supercluster, or could simply merge into the supercluster without any problems. But like I said earlier, it's too early to do anything but speculate.


Science: Astronomers home in on the Great Attractor

EVERYTHING in our part of the Universe including our own Milky Way – is being tugged by a huge concentration of matter far out in space. Although astronomers have known this for several years, so far, no one has been able to identify the precise nature of this ‘Great Attractor’. Now an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge has at least ruled out one candidate.

Somak Raychaudhury has shown that the Great Attractor cannot be associated with a distant concentration of galaxies known as the Shapley Concentration, as some astronomers had suggested. Instead, it must be a much closer concentration of matter, perhaps associated with the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster, another large collection of galaxies (Nature,vol 342, p 251).

Raychaudhury bases his conclusion on a study of about 17 000 galaxies in the direction of the constellation Hydra-Centaurus, where the Great Attractor lies. Astronomers at Cambridge mapped this part of the sky using the Automatic Photographic Measuring Facility. This instrument allows them to digitise the information on photographic plates – in this case, plates fromsky survey plates obtained by the UKSchmidt Telescope in Australia – andthen process the information on a fast computer.

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The distances to Raychaudhury’s galaxies, like all galaxies, are measured in terms of their red shifts – the stretching of the wavelength of their light due to the expansion of the Universe. Astronomers measure these red shifts in kilometres per second, with a red shift of 75 kilometre sper second corresponding roughly to a distance of one megaparsec, or about 3.25 million light years.

Raychaudhury’s survey shows that there are very few clusters of galaxies between 5000 and 10 000 km/sec in the direction of the Great Attractor, but two great concentrations of galaxies. These are the Shapley Concentration, at an average red shift of 13 620 km/sec, and the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster, at red shifts below 5000 km/sec. Although the Shapley Concentration contains more than 3000 individual galaxies, this is not sufficient to account for the pull of the Great Attractor across such a vast distance.

Raychaudhury points out also that if the Shapley Concentration was the sourceof the tug, then galaxies closer to the concentration should be affected more strongly than we are. This is not what he sees. Galaxies beyond a red shift of 4000 km/sec are tugged less strongly than galaxies that are closer to Earth.

He concludes that the Shapley Concentration can be responsible for no more than 10 per cent of the tug towards that part of the sky being felt by the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way. The nearer galaxy concentration, he says, therefore, ‘retains its status as the principal ‘Great Attractor’ as far as the Local Group is concerned’.


Article Venus conjuncts the Great Attractor (1 Viewer)

Today Venus is conjunct the Great Attractor which is the massive galactic anomaly in the general direction of Centaurus that no one really understands and that appears to be approaching us but rather is retreating at a tremendous speed.

Venus aligning with this powerful magnetic force is at her most alluring and will have an effect of someone or something we are fascinated by being just out of our reach and especially so for Sagittarians and Taureans, Librans too but any of us may feel this magnetic pull which could come in the form of person, place, object, event or situation.

Something will be drawing us in a way that is hard to resist and yet may bring some fear too.
But if what we are wanting or craving is due to love then maybe its time to jump into that void.

This is happening around 14 degrees Sagittarius if anyone wants to check their charts for clues as to what this could mean for them.
It opposes my Uranus so perhaps I am in for a bit of a surprise some time soon.

This is quite a different energy to yesterday and I didn’t mention it in the last post, but Ceres the “Mother Creatrix” planet symbolising love and nurturing was conjunct one of the minor Centaur planets Nessus, named for someone who is all that is not caring and nurturing.

This happened around 10 degrees Pisces and I just realised it was right on my Venus which explains a few things.
But this aspect has actually offered an olive branch to many people in the form of a chance to mend some deep seated wounds caused by real or imagined situations of the past where there has been jealousy and abuse of power, revenge, and manipulation involved. Now is a chance to heal it in self at the least and let go of the past.

Ceres is of the nature of Taurus and Cancer and does care about emotional security so this offers a cushion at least against old pent up feelings that if released could cause a lot of pain if we lashed out, especially if someone was doing all they could to make up for past pain being caused.

These things do tend to happen at Christmas time so I didn’t want to mention it yesterday. Hopefully this aspect has brought good reactions for all , and no negatives, especially for the Pisceans and the sensitives of the world.

Tomorrow with the Moon in the very communicative Gemini, the Sun in Capricorn will trine Uranus in Taurus and quintile Neptune in Pisces.
These are quite magical aspects for all of us and very far seeing, far reaching in directions of planets and stars, and outer realms of space and also towards those in other dimensions, so for us on this dense earth we can feel really uplifted with renewed hope for all those wonderful new beginnings including a better world, with two planets doing all they can to carry us in that direction and bring the results we hope for.

These aspects should be felt strongly by Leos, Capricorns, Aquarians, Taureans and Pisceans but the Sun takes the energies to all the signs as each planet is reliant on the Sun for life itself.

I need to mention we are in the energy of the Cancerian/security and family full moon on the 30th Dec which is a very powerful one each year as its ruled by the Moon itself.

This year there is a great air of excitement as many people will be having an emotional time as they leave 2020 behind for good and are happy to do so, so take extra care if you are out and about as it could be a bit wild.

This is the full moon of the year that can cause a few ups and downs with emotions but if with people you get on well with it can be very special.

Cancerians should take note of extra sensitive feelings as this one approaches as should Capricorns and all who have a strong moon in their birth charts.


The Great Attractor Could Be Where the Universe Originated

The Great Attractor lies in a location somewhere behind constellation Centaurus. The disc of our Milky way blocks our view of it, which makes everyone who is interested in its properties frustrated. All of the gas, stars, dust, and other matters of the universe prevents us from seeing what is going on with this extreme gravitational force. Fortunately, technology has changed as years progressed and X-ray and radio astronomers has been able to get an image of what we’ve been missing for many, many, many years:

Because dark energy is steadily expanding the universe, although we are being attracted to the Great Attractor, and it is, as in a 1986 study, 150 to 250 light years away, we will never reach it.

Not only is our Milky Way moving towards the Great Attractor, but other galaxies are moving towards it as well, making it a central gravitational point of the Laniakea Supercluster (home to the Milky Way and about 100,000 other nearby galaxies.

My theory is that we have a close location to the singularity. Perhaps the Great Attractor is where the Big Bang took place. Perhaps because we are moving towards it, it is in a reconstruction stage to piece together it’s original singularity form.

If Earth was able to biologically produce life, and the Earth is supposedly pieces from the Big Bang, then the singularity had to be alive biologically itself. So, it survived the blast and it is rebuilding itself.

We are all a part of the singularity making our way back to where it all started. The Earth is what it wants. We are just part of the Earth. We are Earthlings. If we leave Earth’s atmosphere, without proper man made technology, we will die. We won’t last 1 minute. If we all died, Earth will continue to move towards the Great Attractor.

Maybe we matter more than I think. Maybe our advancement of Earth has an impact on how the singularity functions when Earth makes it back home. Maybe the singularity would be happier and stronger depending on how we advance Earth while we are responsible. Maybe the reason why we have trouble finding other habitable planets is so that we don’t interfere with each other’s progress to make it home with our respective planets.

And to those planets that will only help other planets advance as a people has a deeper connection with the brain of the singularity that allows them superiority, which in turn gives them capability to figure out light speed travel as a result.

When we as an Earth can figure a way out to make a nearly perfect world without killing our own, maybe we can prove our worthiness and perhaps work within the more intelligent aspect of the singularity’s brain. The way that Earth is upheld by our people deems such connection as impossible. But, we all have been taught as a youngster that “Nothing is Impossible”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see that if we all got along that this change could be the key to figuring out light travel? There are so many disagreements and different views that slows us down as a people.

As the Great Attractor hides behind our Milky Way, it could be a living being within dust in a form of a puzzle that’s missing pieces. A large human or reptile awaiting their complete original form the size of all of the planets, stars, meteors, satellites, etc, combined. Possibly, there isn’t even a number that can calculate the size of the universe once it’s all together.

Because the universe is expanding, it takes more time for us to reach the Great Attractor. The Universe is expanding over 42 miles per second, which is over 2500 miles per minute, yep, you guessed it, over 151,200 miles per hour. The Earth travels at 67,000 miles per hour. Who truly knows when we’ll ever reconnect to the Great Attractor?

Perhaps the universe is expanding so that once the singularity is back to its original form it has more room to move around. If the singularity is a huge living being functioning like many living organisms like humans and reptiles on Earth, then it likely reproduces. It is likely to find comfort, relationships and things it enjoys. Perhaps there are multiple spaces out there and where we reside on Earth is just one space out of millions. This space perhaps belongs only to the Great Attractor. Once it rebuilds itself it may go out and find other singularities to engage with in order to have a productive life aside from reconstructing itself to its origin.

Because dark energy is steadily expanding the universe, although we are being attracted to the Great Attractor, and it is, as in a 1986 study, 150 to 250 light years away, we will never reach it.

Not only is our Milky Way moving towards the Great Attractor, but other galaxies are moving towards it as well, making it a central gravitational point of the Laniakea Supercluster (home to the Milky Way and about 100,000 other nearby galaxies.

My theory is that we have a close location to the singularity. Perhaps the Great Attractor is where the Big Bang took place. Perhaps because we are moving towards it, it is in a reconstruction stage to piece together it’s original singularity form.

If Earth was able to biologically produce life, and the Earth is supposedly pieces from the Big Bang, then the singularity had to be alive biologically itself. So, it survived the blast and it is rebuilding itself.

We are all a part of the singularity making our way back to where it all started. The Earth is what it wants. We are just part of the Earth. We are Earthlings. If we leave Earth’s atmosphere, without proper man made technology, we will die. We won’t last 1 minute. If we all died, Earth will continue to move towards the Great Attractor.

Maybe we matter more than I think. Maybe our advancement of Earth has an impact on how the singularity functions when Earth makes it back home. Maybe the singularity would be happier and stronger depending on how we advance Earth while we are responsible. Maybe the reason why we have trouble finding other habitable planets is so that we don’t interfere with each other’s progress to make it home with our respective planets.

And to those planets that will only help other planets advance as a people has a deeper connection with the brain of the singularity that allows them superiority, which in turn gives them capability to figure out light speed travel as a result.

When we as an Earth can figure a way out to make a nearly perfect world without killing our own, maybe we can prove our worthiness and perhaps work within the more intelligent aspect of the singularity’s brain. The way that Earth is upheld by our people deems such connection as impossible. But, we all have been taught as a youngster that “Nothing is Impossible”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see that if we all got along that this change could be the key to figuring out light travel? There are so many disagreements and different views that slows us down as a people.

As the Great Attractor hides behind our Milky Way, it could be a living being within dust in a form of a puzzle that’s missing pieces. A large human or reptile awaiting their complete original form the size of all of the planets, stars, meteors, satellites, etc, combined. Possibly, there isn’t even a number that can calculate the size of the universe once it’s all together.

Because the universe is expanding, it takes more time for us to reach the Great Attractor. The Universe is expanding over 42 miles per second, which is over 2500 miles per minute, yep, you guessed it, over 151,200 miles per hour. The Earth travels at 67,000 miles per hour. Who truly knows when we’ll ever reconnect to the Great Attractor?

Perhaps the universe is expanding so that once the singularity is back to its original form it has more room to move around. If the singularity is a huge living being functioning like many living organisms like humans and reptiles on Earth, then it likely reproduces. It is likely to find comfort, relationships and things it enjoys. Perhaps there are multiple spaces out there and where we reside on Earth is just one space out of millions. This space perhaps belongs only to the Great Attractor. Once it rebuilds itself it will go out and find other singularities to engage with in order to have a productive life aside from reconstructing itself.

Because dark energy is steadily expanding the universe, although we are being attracted to the Great Attractor, and it is, as in a 1986 study, 150 to 250 light years away, we will never reach it.

Not only is our Milky Way moving towards the Great Attractor, but other galaxies are moving towards it as well, making it a central gravitational point of the Laniakea Supercluster (home to the Milky Way and about 100,000 other nearby galaxies.

My theory is that we have a close location to the singularity. Perhaps the Great Attractor is where the Big Bang took place. Perhaps because we are moving towards it, it is in a reconstruction stage to piece together it’s original singularity form.

If Earth was able to biologically produce life, and the Earth is supposedly pieces from the Big Bang, then the singularity had to be alive biologically itself. So, it survived the blast and it is rebuilding itself.

We are all a part of the singularity making our way back to where it all started. The Earth is what it wants. We are just part of the Earth. We are Earthlings. If we leave Earth’s atmosphere, without proper man made technology, we will die. We won’t last 1 minute. If we all died, Earth will continue to move towards the Great Attractor.

Maybe we matter more than I think. Maybe our advancement of Earth has an impact on how the singularity functions when Earth makes it back home. Maybe the singularity would be happier and stronger depending on how we advance Earth while we are responsible. Maybe the reason why we have trouble finding other habitable planets is so that we don’t interfere with each other’s progress to make it home with our respective planets.

And to those planets that will only help other planets advance as a people has a deeper connection with the brain of the singularity that allows them superiority, which in turn gives them capability to figure out light speed travel as a result.

When we as an Earth can figure a way out to make a nearly perfect world without killing our own, maybe we can prove our worthiness and perhaps work within the more intelligent aspect of the singularity’s brain. The way that Earth is upheld by our people deems such connection as impossible. But, we all have been taught as a youngster that “Nothing is Impossible”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see that if we all got along that this change could be the key to figuring out light travel? There are so many disagreements and different views that slows us down as a people.

As the Great Attractor hides behind our Milky Way, it could be a living being within dust in a form of a puzzle that’s missing pieces. A large human or reptile awaiting their complete original form the size of all of the planets, stars, meteors, satellites, etc, combined. Possibly, there isn’t even a number that can calculate the size of the universe once it’s all together.

Because the universe is expanding, it takes more time for us to reach the Great Attractor. The Universe is expanding over 42 miles per second, which is over 2500 miles per minute, yep, you guessed it, over 151,200 miles per hour. The Earth travels at 67,000 miles per hour. Who truly knows when we’ll ever reconnect to the Great Attractor?

Perhaps the universe is expanding so that once the singularity is back to its original form it has more room to move around. If the singularity is a huge living being functioning like many living organisms like humans and reptiles on Earth, then it likely reproduces. It is likely to find comfort, relationships and things it enjoys. Perhaps there are multiple spaces out there and where we reside on Earth is just one space out of millions. This space perhaps belongs only to the Great Attractor. Once it rebuilds itself it will go out and find other singularities to engage with in order to have a productive life aside from reconstructing itself.


The Milky Way Galaxy

The galaxy we live in, called the Milky Way Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy composed of at least 100 billion stars. It is approximately 100,000 light years across and about 1000 light years thick. It has a central bulge that is about 10,000 light years in diameter. Our solar system is about a third of the way towards the edge of the Galaxy from the central bulge. If the Solar System were inside the bulge, at night we would be able to see a million stars as bright as Sirius (the brightest star in our night sky). The night sky would be so bright, that it would not seem much different than day. The Sun and Solar System are within the 1,000 light year thick disk, and we are only about 95 light years from the central plane.

Artist's impression of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The disk of our galaxy appears blue because it has a large proportion of young, hot O and B main sequence stars. The disk contains gas and dust from which stars can form. The central bulge of our galaxy appears yellow or reddish because it contains many red giants and red super giants, but not the short lived blue O and B stars. This shows that the central bulge does not have active star formation going on. The stars in the disk of the Galaxy are generally younger, population I stars, which orbit the central bulge along paths within the disk. The stars and globular clusters in the halo of our galaxy are very old population II stars. They orbit the Galaxy along paths tilted at random angles to the disk. Many of the single stars in the halo orbit the galaxy at very high speeds, relative to the sun and are called high-velocity stars.

At the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is a supermassive black hole. The region where the black hole is located is called Sagittarius A* (prounounced "A star"). The black hole itself cannot be observed partly because it emits no light, and partly because there is too much gas and dust between us and that region for us to be able to observe it. The stars around Sagittarius A* move at such great speeds, that astronomers know that it must be incredibly massive. Estimates show that it must be at least 3.7 million times more massive than our sun. However, it is very compact and at most 45 AU (6.7 billion km) across.

Astronomers believe that only about 10% of the mass of our galaxy comes from stars, gas and dust. They suspect that there must be more matter than we can see because of the way the galaxy rotates. If all of the stars in our galaxy were orbiting a massive object in the center, the way the planets orbit the Sun in the Solar System, then the stars closer to the edge of the galaxy should be orbiting more slowly than stars closer to the center, the same way the outer planets orbit more slowly than the inner ones. Instead, stars near the edge of our galaxy orbit at nearly the same speed as stars nearer the center. To produce this kind of motion, the galaxy must contain much more mass than we can see. Astronomers theorize that this extra mass is dark matter. This matter is not visible, emits no electromagnetic radiation, and has so far eluded detection.

There are some alternative theories to dark matter being investigated. These theories propose that there is no extra matter, but that our understanding of gravity is incomplete or inadequate on large scales, and the motion of the stars within our galaxy can be explained this way. So far none of the alternative theories have been able to explain the observations as cleanly as dark matter and dark matter is the more widely accepted theory.

Galactic Coordinates

The galactic coordinate system is a way of describing where an object is in the Milky Way Galaxy, relative to the Sun. Galactic longitude is measured in degrees counterclockwise from the direction towards the galactic center and goes from 0 to 360°. Galactic latitude is measured in positive degrees above or negative degrees below the galactic plane and goes from 0 to 90° above and 0 to -90° below the plane. This coordinate system doesn't give information about the distance to an object, so many objects may have the same galactic coordinates by being along the same line of sight, but be at different distances from us.

Motion

The Milky Way Galaxy's disk rotates, with all of the stars and dust in the disk traveling at a fairly uniform speed. Because of this, stars inside the Sun's orbit complete trips around the bulge more quickly than we do. Stars outside the Sun's orbit complete the journey more slowly. Our galaxy is not like a rotating CD or DVD, where different points on the CD travel at different speeds, but always complete a rotation in the same amount of time. In our galaxy, stars in the disk all travel at nearly the same speed, so stars closer to the edge will take longer to orbit the galaxy since they have farther to travel.

The spiral arms in our galaxy may be density waves, similar to the ripples that form when a stone is dropped into a pool of water. The spiral arms are areas of greater density of gas, dust and stars, and are the regions where star formation happens.

Neighborhood

The Milky Way Galaxy is the second largest member of a cluster of over 30 galaxies called the Local Group. The largest member of the local group is the Andromeda Galaxy, and the 3rd largest is the Triangulum galaxy. Most of the other galaxies in the Local Group are much smaller dwarf spheroidal and dwarf elliptical galaxies.

Our Local Group is a member of the Virgo Supercluster, which contains over 100 galaxies and clusters, and is over 100 million light years across. Our supercluster is traveling at about 600 km/sec towards a very massive supercluster called the Great Attractor. Generally superclusters are not bound to each other gravitationally and are moving away from each other due to the expansion of the universe.

History of Discovery

In the 1700s, astronomers began to suspect that the Milky Way is a disk of stars that completely encircles us. However, for a long time astronomers believed that our sun was at the center of the Galaxy. Astronomers including Herschel and Kapteyn counted the stars in the Milky Way, and there seemed to be equal numbers in every direction, which led them to the conclusion that we are at the center. What they didn't account for was interstellar extinction dust and gas throughout our galaxy was obscuring their view. This dust acts like a fog, and they were actually only observing the very nearest stars. The view through our galaxy is obscurred by dust and gas, but our view out of the plane of the Galaxy has very little interstellar extinction.

In 1920 and astronomer named Harlow Shapley was studying RR Lyrae variable stars in the globular clusters that orbit our galaxy. He was able to use the RR variable stars to determine the distances to 93 globular clusters, and realized that they were much farther than had been thought, with some as far away as 100,000 light years. He also realized that almost all of the globular clusters he was observing were in the direction of Sagittarius. He came to the conclusion that the globular clusters were orbiting the center of our galaxy, which was not where the Earth and Sun are, but rather in the direction of Sagittarius. He estimated the distance to the center of our galaxy, but because interstellar extinction was not well understood at the time, he was off by a factor of 2. We now know the distance to the center of the Galaxy to be about 26,000 light-years + or - 3000 light years.

Around this time, the astronomical community was divided about the nature of what they called spiral nabulae. Harlow Shapley was a member of a group that said these were structures within our galaxy. Others proposed that these nebulae were "island universes," rotating systems of stars much like our galaxy. It was not until Edwin Hubble discovered Cepheid variables in some of these spiral nebulae that the question could be answered. Cepheid variables, like RR Lyrae variables, can be used to measure distances in space. It turned out that these spiral structures were many millions of light years away, and certainly not smaller structures within our galaxy.


Milky Way 50% bigger?

What was thought to be a star stream from a galaxy cannibalized by the Milky Way may be an outer arm.

This will be a good one to follow.

#2 DJCalma

This would be great news! 50% bigger means 50% more awe-inspiring. In this case, bigger is definitely better.

#3 schang

if this is the case, It appears that the Milky Way would survive after colliding with the M31, and grow even bigger. Do not know what would happen to the remnant of M31. Just sit tight

#4 rowdy388

Good to hear. I always feel a little inferior complex when the dudes from Andromeda are bragging about the size of their galaxy. Now I can come back with some "tude".

#5 precaud

It's about time that Nat Geo released an updated galaxy poster anyway.

#6 csrlice12

So, in galactic terms, size matters.

#7 Rick Woods

#8 nashtok

#9 Starman1

Actually, Rick, I still don't think that would make the Milky Way larger than M31.

M31 is about 220kly across, while this new size for the MW would raise us to

Also, M31 has about 1.5 x 10^12 stars, while the MW has about 1X10^11

However, I have recently read where the halo of the Milky Way may be larger than M31's and the total mass of the MW actually larger than M31.

M31 seems to have less dark matter and more stars.

Edited by Starman1, 17 March 2015 - 09:57 AM.

#10 csrlice12

Time to increase the size of the candy bars now.

#11 Rick Woods

Actually, Rick, I still don't think that would make the Milky Way larger than M31.

M31 is about 220kly across, while this new size for the MW would raise us to

150kly across.

Also, M31 has about 1.5 x 10^12 stars, while the MW has about 1X10^11

However, I have recently read where the halo of the Milky Way may be larger than M31's and the total mass of the MW actually larger than M31.

M31 seems to have less dark matter and more stars.

We're number ONE!! We got the halo, we got the mass!

#12 rowdy388

Yeah, the MW and Andromeda are going to meet on pretty equal terms and nobody is getting out unscathed in the collision.

Nice to hear our home galaxy has the muscle to play with the big boys. we'll need even more mass when we wander into the Virgo Cluster where the real heavy weights are.

#13 Starman1

Yeah, the MW and Andromeda are going to meet on pretty equal terms and nobody is getting out unscathed in the collision.

Nice to hear our home galaxy has the muscle to play with the big boys. we'll need even more mass when we wander into the Virgo Cluster where the real heavy weights are.

Dave Y

Since the Virgo Cluster appears to be moving toward the "Great Attractor", and moving away from us, by the time that happens, all the stars in the Milky Way will be dead, perhaps on the scale of 500-1000 billion years.

As the Virgo Cluster draws nearer to the Supercluster center, it will move away from us even faster.

The time frame will depend a lot on lateral movement and rotation of Laniakea in the Universe as a whole.

Then you have to take Universal expansion into effect because of the large scale involved: Will the Universe get to be expanding faster than the galaxy clusters are growing closer to one another? If the expansion is accelerating, as is currently indicated, Milkomeda will eventually be all by itself in the Universe. That will be pretty near the end, though.


"The dark flow is a velocity tendency of galaxies to move in the direction that was formerly thought to be caused by the Great Attractor, but are now theorized to be outside the observable universe."

What is a velocity tendency? What are theorized to be outside the observable universe?

So what is this gravity anonymous? A blackhole? (--61.64.74.148 (talk · contribs), 10 June 2004)

If I understand this correctly, it's too large to be a hypermass. (--Stargoat, 14 July 2004)

What is a "hypermass", and why can't this be one? (--66.156.239.23 (talk · contribs), 5 August 2004)

The most down to earth theory would be that the Great Attractor is a dense collection of galaxies. We can't see it, at least not with current technology, like we can with the Virgo cluster, because it is in the galactic plane, so we need to look through all of the "light pollution" from the stars in the Milky Way. Salleman (5 June 2005) "Hypermass" is another term for black hole, no longer in common usage (though it crops up occasionally).--Christopher Thomas 01:12, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Could it be a complex spacetime fold,which magnifies gravity?

It could be, but why would we even begin to think about such complex and improbable things like that when regular old matter seems to do the trick? --Gwern (contribs) 20:46 3 December 2006 (GMT) I personally think that it is a location in space where there is a high concentration of dark matter. It may account for the huge mass in the region. Solidus469

Possibly a black hole with so much mass that it makes a hundred thousand galaxies look pretty close to zero (as in closer than we've gotten to absolute zero) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.89.79.192 (talk) 01:56, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

If it was caused by a HUGE mass concentration then objects would accelerate towards it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Armchairphysicist (talk • contribs) 20:31, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

They do, but the space rug gets pulled out from under them faster by dark energy. Just wait sixty million years for it to rotate out the Zone of Avoidance so we can see it. Hcobb (talk) 15:12, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

--Just curious. the Virgo supercluster article states that this supercluster is 200 mil LYs in diameter, and this article claims the Great Attractor is (recently measured) 250 mil LYs away from us and is at the center of the supercluster. Can anyone explain this discrepancy? --Jleon 15:16, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

If I understand correctly, the discrepancy is due to the fact that our measurements of distance at those ranges aren't very accurate, though accuracy is improving. --Christopher Thomas 17:28, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Is it true that the galaxies in the local supercluster are all receding from each other? I'm hazy on whether or not the supercluster is gravitationally bound (which would mean they weren't receding). --Christopher Thomas 17:28, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Technically, That's not possible.--20pxMac Lover Talk 17:06, 10 August 2006 (UTC) Clarify, please (starting with what you're calling impossible, then why). --Christopher Thomas 22:16, 10 August 2006 (UTC) If you imagine 2 ants on opposite of a balloon as its blown up. Both are walking towards the end. Although they are walking to the same spot the are getting further appart as the balloon expands. So yes, it can be gravitationally bound while still moving apart. As it gets further apart though some parts will no longer be bound, as gravitational affect decrease with distance. Thats enough abstract thought for me for tonight. --LiamE 00:03, 11 August 2006 (UTC) I wouldn't consider a system like that to be gravitationally bound in an expanding universe, precisely because the components have net motion away from each other, even if local motion is in the direction of the center of the system. For an example of a system I'd call "bound", consider a hydrogen atom, or the Earth in orbit about the Sun). In both of these examples, the net effect of cosmic expansion is to add a radial acceleration term when you set up the equations of the system, causing the stable orbit radius to be (very) slightly shorter than it would be in the absence of expansion, allowing increased attractive forces to produce an effect that exactly balances the acceleration due to metric expansion of space. Before anyone objects, note that I'm not claiming that metric expansion itself applies a force - instead, I'm treating it as causing _acceleration_ when the system equations are set up using proper distance instead of comoving distance. --Christopher Thomas 00:41, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

An update to this article based on this source [1] might be useful (or related material) 70.51.11.219 (talk) 08:59, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Consideration might also be given to doing more than just referencing Dark Flow in the "See Also" section. Astronomers who have recently noted this "new find" apparently missed that what they call Dark Flow is heading toward the same area of space where the Great Attractor was first reported in 1973! So it's evident that they have rediscovered the Great Attractor!

97.103.58.89 (talk) 11:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)Paine Ellsworth [email protected]


Why is the dark flow section of this so opinionated and without sources? (data from Planck not worth mentioning and should be removed) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Armchairphysicist (talk • contribs) 19:43, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Can we get some more specific information about why Aldaron is repeatedly wiping out the In Fiction content? 66.30.113.23 (talk) 18:08, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Because these sections are intended for cases where the article's topic is actually referenced in the cited work of fiction, not just as a list of every place where the same words happen to be used in a script. — Aldaron • T/C 18:37, 12 September 2009 (UTC) I'm referring to Men In Black, how do you know they weren't referring to this object? It was a movie about extraterrestrial beings residing on Earth, and the words "great attractor" were referenced in a joke. If they weren't referring to this, what were they talking about? 66.30.113.23 (talk) 04:48, 15 September 2009 (UTC) They were picking a sciencey-sounding name and applying it to an alien, without regard for what the sciency-sounding name actually meant. I enjoyed the movie, but I agree with removing that reference from the list. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 07:12, 15 September 2009 (UTC) Agreed. The the MiB reference doesn't belong here. — Aldaron • T/C 16:23, 20 March 2010 (UTC) Nonsense. Kay's line in MiB is obviously a humorous reference to the unsolved nature of the scientific phenomenon. And that there has to be a special comment in the article to keep people from adding the reference there shows how many people get this! --Steve Foerster (talk) 19:16, 23 October 2010 (UTC) Get it wrong, you mean. — Aldaron • T/C 01:37, 24 October 2010 (UTC) What makes you so certain that everyone is wrong except you? Hellbus (talk) 22:55, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

For the record, Great Attractor isn't very scientific-sounding. It's a clear reference, not a coincidence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.69.36.177 (talk) 07:14, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure what is the official policy, but you guys would do a favour if you'd remove nonrelevant in fiction catalog entries from scientific articles. The Pratchett one is one of those. Yes, maybe the Great Attractor has been mentioned there in Reaper Man, which IS a good book. So has been mentioned 'toilet', 'guts' and 'balls'. It does not mean that a complete listing of references should be added to every article. It is near that authors start adding random keywords to plots in order to get their name and book mentioned all around Wikipedia. 91.152.66.251 (talk) 11:58, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Agreed ★NealMcB★ (talk) 14:31, 1 August 2015 (UTC) Does someone here perhaps actually know the writers, and could actually figure out if the line was indeed referring to the astronomical concept? True, unless they mentioned it at Comic-Con and thus was a semi-reliable source (a transcript of the session backed up by a videotape) it couldn't be included in the article. But at least it would be included on this page, as inquiring minds do apparently want to know. Jimw338 (talk) 01:56, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

I saw on the fifth episode of this television program an astronomer showing a picture of galaxy distributions around the area of the sky obscurred by the milky way, with each galaxy represented by a dot. The dots took the structure of a spiral galaxy, and it was clear to my own eyes, and the astronomer thus argued that the great attractor must be a galaxy of galaxies: a structure of galaxies forming a hypergalaxy, in the same way stars form a galaxy. I was very intrigued, and yet I have never since heard anything like it, and I would expect that the hypothesis was rejected in science. Does anyone have information on how the rejection happened? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nnnu (talk • contribs) 12:30, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

A quick reply (since this is not really about the article's contents): A spiral galaxy is a strongly rotating, dynamical system. See density wave theory, for instance. That is, the stars and gas interact gravitationally and the gas, collisionally as well arranging themselves into a single coherent pattern over a few orbits around the center: say, 0.1-1 GY, for the Milky Way. Regardless of the arrangement of the galaxies you saw plotted, (my understanding of the construction of that pattern means that) they have not had time enough to arrange themselves into a single coherent pattern while orbiting the center. The much larger rotation region would require at least 100 times as long as for the Milky Way, over which time the general expansion of the universe would likely separate the components too widely for any coherent interactions. Jmacwiki (talk) 07:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC) It makes sense that it cannot happen, but the pattern seemed very clear, and I would think that the astronomical community would try to solve the puzzle on seeing the contradiction between theory and observation. Explanation on how it is impossible is not explanation for how the hypothesis was rejected. It would have to involve analysis of observational data and good argument showing that the apparent pattern is actually no pattern at all, or that it was merely an accident. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nnnu (talk • contribs) 14:46, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment. It was proposed back in October 2010 that Dark Flow be merged into this article. I would agree that the flow of galaxies recently discovered called Dark Flow is a gravitational flow into the Great Attractor. The coordinates are the same. However this connection might very well be considered original research because I have yet to read that astronomers have actually made the connection between the Great Attractor and Dark Flowofficial. If a reliable source can be found to corroborate this connection, then I am in favor of the merge. If a reliable source cannot be found, then I'm opposed to the merge. – Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX ) 01:43, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

I removed the following comment from after the Reaper Man entry in the "In fiction" section (is it really necessary?):

<!-- The line uses the same name specifically to take advantage of the low level of understanding we have of the phenomenon. The intent is to refer to the Great Attractor that we detect merely by its observable effects and enhance it with additional, unexpected information for purposes of humor. The fictional characters speaking in the exchange are in a situation which strongly implies awareness of facts which remain unknown to the scientific community at large and the entire movie to this point has been building such a conceit. Such usage is no more inappropriate, incorrect, or open to misinterpretation than the other examples in this section. -->
– Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX ) 05:55, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

The following hypothesis is based on what I know thus far to be fact and do leave room for the fact there are things I do not know.

The so called great attractor might be a solid mass I don't know and have not heard of it before but my thoughts have gravitated to the following when mentioning the big bang.

Since mass attracts other mass which we know to be gravity and the universe came out of a single speck I tend to think that like a firework it exploded into existence then rather than falling to the ground since there is no ground in space it lingered and the combined gravitational pull of all the universal objects just reversed direction and fell back into itself over time.

We know today that the universe expanse is slowing. If we could zoom out and fast forward I would imagine the firework to simply stop expanding then being coerced by the gravitation of the inner masses come falling back into itself to simply form a singular mass of proportions that are unfathomable and this would cause it to simple blow out again.

a singularity it would come to a point when the collapse was taking place that it would collapse so quickly it would be equal to imploding at the speed at which it exploded and implode through itself and bounce out into another explosion.

I would imagine this has happened many many times before and the so called big bang is not a one time event and over the span of an infinite timeline it would look like a firework simply exploding stopping then imploding over and over again.

The galaxies are simply whirlpools or turbulence of such an event. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ryzler (talk • contribs) 00:04, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

The introduction to this article begins, "The great attractor is. " implying that current scientific knowledge favors the Great Attractor's existence, but the Dark Flow section goes on to use the words "purported" and "formerly" in a way that suggests that the Great Attractor is merely a discredited theory from astronomy past. Which is it? 184.147.1.155 (talk) 04:46, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

It is both, some people believe in it and some don't, even scientists looking at the same data are apparently coming to different interpretations of it. [2] This one seems to be the most interesting for me though [3](Armchairphysicist (talk) 14:47, 22 January 2014 (UTC))

What is the Great Attractor's motion with respect to its local standard of rest (the frame in which the CMB is isotropic)? Is that known, or is the GA's existence still too speculative? JKeck (talk) 12:45, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

The article indicates, ". in the direction of the constellations Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) and Norma . "

Are there scientific sources that give a location that is more specific than this? Is it possible to provide the Right Ascension and Declination for a certain epoch (e.g., J2000, J2010, or another)? Tesseract501 (talk) 00:12, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

According to what I've read, the Great Attractor is too near to the other side of the galactic plane from us for astronomers to be able to pinpoint its location. What I find curious is that the coordinates are very similar to those of the galaxy clusters associated with Dark flow. Happy New Year! Paine 01:16, 2 January 2016 (UTC) In an interesting or twisted the proximity make sense if Dark Flow is proven it would not seem too unexpected to have all those new galaxies radiating from or congregating to the region. Of course, it gets away from science to think about the transition points between hypothetical multiverses (i.e., do they transect or transverse) -- but ya gotta kinda expect my mind to go in that fun direction (given my screen name and all). Hoho! Oh, as far as the location coordinates, pinpointing to seconds or fractional seconds may be difficult, but I would think there must be at least hour and minute references. They know it near those constellations. Nevertheless, as you noted, I too have been unable to find more specific location data. Tesseract501 (talk) 03:15, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

International scientists around Lister Staveley-Smith of the University of Western Australia (Perth) registered 883 new galaxies within the Great Attractor (ICRAR). Could this be interesting for the article? Source: http://www.icrar.org/news/news_items/media-releases/hidden-galaxies RIMOLA (talk) 11:01, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

I saw and worked how this could work I check where the shapely cluster was and another cluster was close the I thought no those two can be pulling millions of galaxies so then I looked again then I saw the were all move to one spot in different ways so I thought the "hyper cluster" would need to be massive to pull on the galaxies so I think it's far but has 50 times more gravity so this is my theory is it possible? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Space Discoverer (talk • contribs) 22:58, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

With the GA anything is possible. The pity is that since our galaxy is heading in the general direction of the GA, and since our solar system is in the "back seat" of our galaxy, scientists are unable to make any definite measurements nor draw any certain conclusions. It's like trying to look out a car's dirty windshield from the back seat. What's in your palette? Paine 07:49, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

The discovery, which explained a previously misunderstood phenomenon known as the Great Attractor, was a major breakthrough :


Real science for real life: Astronomy

Hopefully many of you got to experience August’s Great American Solar Eclipse. Maybe it got you thinking about what else is going on up there among the stars.

There is a wide variety in the types of objects that can be found in our universe and we’re learning about new ones all the time. Each solar object could have a whole article devoted to it, so we’re going to have to cherry-pick some of the most exciting stellar phenomena.

Let’s start with the Milky Way galaxy, just one of 2 trillion galaxies in our universe. Our galaxy, like all others, consist of stars, star dust and gas, and dark matter, all gravitationally locked to the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The sun orbits the black hole just as the Earth orbits the sun.

First, we’ll start with how scientists describe planets. All of these planets can be found within the Milky Way, but not all of them are found within our solar system. We’ll also be exploring the types of stars found in the universe and how astronomers study our place in space.

Planets
A planet is a body of mass that is large enough to become rounded due to its own gravity, but not so large as to undergo thermonuclear fusion, the process of combining atomic nuclei to form new atoms. In order to be considered a planet the object has to have cleared its orbit of debris, meaning all the rocks have coalesced into one object or been vaporized by the planet.

This is what caused Pluto to be reclassified as a dwarf planet rather than a planet. It exists within a field of rocks and debris – the Kuiper Belt – along with other dwarf planets its size, like Ceres and Eris. In time, these objects may eventually form into planets.

There are three main classification systems for types of planets:

  • Mass regime organizes planets based on their size. Typically the larger the planet is, the more likely it is to be made of a gas than of solid matter. Examples of planetary divisions within the mass regime are: Giant planet, Mesoplanet, Super-Earth, Sub-Earth, Planemo and Planetar.
  • Orbital regime describes planets based on their relative position to another body that they are orbiting (or not orbiting). Relative to stars, planets are small objects that are usually gravitationally locked with a larger object, like a star. Some of the more unique orbital paths of planets are two planets orbiting each other (double planet) planets like Pluto that are much smaller (dwarf planet) planets that do not orbit a star, but the galaxy itself (rogue planet) a planet that orbits two stars in a binary system (circumbinary planet) and 13 other ways to describe based on orbit.
  • Finally, there are 17 ways to describe a planet based on its composition. These classifications are pretty straightforward and include planets made of thing such as ice, lava, gas and helium. Some of the categories are hypothetical in nature, like an ocean planet, a desert planet or a coreless planet.

Stars
Stars are even more diverse than planets. They consists of balls of plasma held together by their own gravity. Plasma is the fourth type of matter. It’s not talked about a lot in school because it can be hard to demonstrate and is not found naturally on Earth.

Each state of matter can be organized by energy level, with solids having the least amount of energy, followed by liquids, gases and finally, plasma. Classification of stars is based on its surface temperature, brightness (luminosity), and size. All stars exist on spectrum of these three factors.

You can determine what a star is made of by taking the light from the star and passing it through a prism. When light travels through a glass prism, it is slowed down enough so that the prism can separate out the wavelengths based on size, creating a rainbow. If you look closely at the rainbow, you’ll see black lines. Each element has a specific pattern of black lines it’s like a barcode for the element. Different combinations of elements will create their own unique barcode, consisting of the lines for each individual element. The strength of the line indicates the abundance of the element.

Reading the barcode of starlight will tell you the composition of the star, enabling you to classify the star based spectral type. This was the first classification of stars done by Annie Jump Cannon in the early 1900s and is still used today. She could classify 200 stars an hour. In her lifetime, she classified about 350,000 stars.

Light – or photons – is released from a star during the process of combining two hydrogen atoms into one helium atom, known as thermonuclear fusion. It is a process that cannot go on forever. Stars are born and stars die.

A nebula is a star nursery where all stars are born. A nebula provides all the materials needed to create a star: hydrogen, helium, interstellar dust and ionized gases. Ninety percent of stars are in the “main sequence” of life, including our sun. The main sequence describes how the star generates energy and the composition of the atoms in the star it is a continuum based on the star’s age.

Things get interesting when a star is near death. Death for a star means it can no longer fuse hydrogen at its core because there is none left. The bigger a star is, the shorter its lifespan is.

For 97 percent of stars, their death means they will cool to the ambient temperature of the universe. These stars become white dwarfs, because they also shrink in size (without losing any mass). As they continue to cool, they will slowly emit less and less light until they appear black, a black dwarf. No such stars exist because the time it takes for a star to cool this much is longer than the universe has been around.

Some larger stars – such as our sun – will undergo a “red giant” phase before becoming a white dwarf. The outer layers of the star will begin to expand outward, becoming several thousand times larger. The surface of the sun will reach Earth, destroying the atmosphere and possibly the planet. Life on Earth already would have been terminated due to the rising temperatures as the sun grows closer. There is no need to worry though, as this will happen in the next 5-6 billion years.

The most catastrophic event occurs when a supergiant star dies. Once fusion stops happening at the core, a gravitational collapse occurs. This means all the matter quickly – close to the speed of light – concentrates at the core. Within a matter of seconds the star violently explodes, releasing energy at the rate equivalent to a billion stars. This phenomenon is known as a supernova. Heavy elements, anything heavier than iron, can only be produced in supernovae.

What is left over after a supernova occurs is called a neutron star, which is made up almost entirely of neutrons. These stars are, on average, 10 kilometers in diameter, but they can have as much matter as two suns. Neutron stars are the densest objects in the universe. Amazingly, they also rotate at a rate of 100 revolutions a minute.

However, not all supernovas end with a neutron star. A black hole can form instead if the star is large enough (larger than 3x the size of our sun).

With an estimated 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, a supernova will only occur roughly every 50 years. Betelgeuse, a red giant in the constellation Orion, will one day go supernova. Scientists predict Betelgeuse will result in the formation of a neutron star and not a black hole.

Always on the move
Everything in space is in constant motion. The Earth rotates around its axis at a rate close to 1,000 miles per hour (mph) and it moves around the sun on its orbit at a speed of 66,000 mph.

Within the Milky Way, stars are all spinning around the black hole at the center. The stars closer to the center are orbiting much faster. Our sun, however, is far out from the center and along with its planets, is moving at speed of 483,000 mph. One lap around the Milky Way is called a galactic year Earth is 20 galactic years old.

The Milky Way also is moving through space, but measuring its speeds is a bit trickier. You can’t just compare its speed to another neighboring galaxy because they also are moving. Scientists had to figure out the speed of the Milky Way some other way.

When the Big Bang happened, it produced a massive burst of gamma rays. These rays are the highest energy on the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum describes the wide variety of photons, which are classified by the size of wave on which they travel. Radio waves are the largest waves and thus lowest energy, while gamma rays are the smallest and highest energy. Visible light is a narrow band on the scale that falls near the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The gamma rays produced from the Big Bang were everywhere and they expanded out with the universe as it expanded. As the universe expanded, so did the size of the waves. They became x-rays, then UV rays, visible light, then infrared, until they slowed down to what they are today, microwaves.

Scientists have imaged the microwaves left behind from the Big Bang and created a map calling it the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. In the 1940s, Scientists can use this Cosmic Microwave Background as a frame of reference for the Milky Way to determine how fast it is moving, which turns out to be an astonishing 1.3 million mph.

We are moving toward a gravitational anomaly referred to it as the Great Attractor. All the galaxies near us are headed that way. The mass in that area of the universe is so great that it is attracting all of the galaxies in the hundreds of millions light years surrounding it. We don’t know much about the Great Attractor because it lies behind the disk of the Milky Way, which makes it really hard to see through all of the cosmic dust and light from other stars.

WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD KNOW AS IS RELATES TO SPACE:

Grades 6-8
Middle school students have started to think beyond their Earthly existence and consider other bodies in the solar system or even the universe.

By the end of grade 8, students need to know:

  • ESS1-B:The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.

Proving a Sun-Centered Solar System
In this activity, students will use a lamp and balls to demonstrate that the sun is the center of the solar system by comparing calculations from the “Moon’s” shadows to “Venus.”

By the end of grade 12, students need to know:

  • ESS-1A:The star called the sun is changing and will burn out over a lifespan of approximately 10 billion years.

The study of stars’ light spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements and their distances from Earth.

The Big Bang theory is supported by observations of distant galaxies receding from our own, of the measured composition of stars and non-stellar gases, and of the maps of spectra of the primordial radiation (Cosmic Microwave Background) that still fills the universe.

Other than the hydrogen and helium formed at the time of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion within stars produces all atomic nuclei lighter than and including iron, and the process releases electromagnetic energy. Heavier elements are produced when certain massive stars achieve a supernova stage and explode.

  • PS3-D:Nuclear fusion processes in the center of the sun release the energy that ultimately reaches Earth as radiation.

Separating white light into its visible spectrum
In this activity, students will break down white light into the colors of the rainbow using an overhead projector. This will help students understand how scientists can use the light from distant stars to determine their composition.

Ashley Richards Best is a fifth-year doctoral student and National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at the University of Louisville.


Earth From Afar Would Look Only 82% Right For Life

Right now, we’re staring hard at a small section of the sky, to see if we can detect any planets that may be habitable. The Kepler Spacecraft is focused on a tiny patch of sky in our Milky Way galaxy, hoping to detect planets as they transit in front of their stars. But if alien astronomers are doing the same, and detect Earth transiting in front of the Sun, how habitable would Earth appear?

You might think, because, well, here we are, that the Earth would look 100% habitable from a distant location. But that’s not the case. According to a paper from Rory Barnes and his colleagues at the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory, from a distant point in the galaxy, the probability of Earth being habitable might be only 82%.

Illustration of the Kepler spacecraft.(NASA/Kepler mission/Wendy Stenzel)

Barnes and his team came up with the 82% number when they worked to create a “habitability index for transiting planets,” that seeks to rank the habitability of planets based on factors like the distance from its star, the size of the planet, the nature of the star, and the behaviour of other planets in the system.

The search for habitable exo-planets is dominated by the idea of the circumstellar habitable zone—or Goldilocks Zone—a region of space where an orbiting planet is not too close to its star to boil away all the water, and not so far away that the water is all frozen. This isn’t a fixed distance it depends on the type and size of the star. With an enormous, hot star, the Goldilocks Zone would be much further away than Earth is from the Sun, and vice-versa for a smaller, cooler star. “That was a great first step, but it doesn’t make any distinctions within the habitable zone,” says Barnes.

Comparing a star’s habitable zone based on its size. Credit: Fine Art America/Detlev Van Ravenswaay.

Kepler has already confirmed the existence of over 1,000 exo-planets, with over 4,700 total candidate planets. And Kepler is still in operation. When it comes time to examine these planets more closely, with the James Webb Space Telescope and other instruments, where do we start? We needed a way to rank planets for further study. Enter Barnes and his team, and their habitability index.

To rank candidates for further study, Barnes focused on not just the distance between the planet and the host star, but on the overall energy equilibrium. That takes into account not just the energy received by the planet, but the planet’s albedo—how much energy it reflects back into space. In terms of being warm enough for life, a high-albedo planet can tolerate being closer to its star, whereas a low-albedo planet can tolerate a greater distance. This equilibrium is affected in turn by the eccentricity of the planet’s orbit.

The habitability index created by Barnes—and his colleagues Victoria Meadows and Nicole Evans—is a way to enter data, including a planet’s albedo and its distance from its host star, and get a number representing the planet’s probability of being habitable. “Basically, we’ve devised a way to take all the observational data that are available and develop a prioritization scheme,” said Barnes, “so that as we move into a time when there are hundreds of targets available, we might be able to say, ‘OK, that’s the one we want to start with.’”

So where does the Earth fit into all this? If alien astronomers are creating their own probability index, at 82%, Earth is a good candidate. Maybe they’re already studying us more closely.


New discoveries around “Great Attractor” reveal importance of ‘Trishanku’ as a marker in the South!

8 comments:

Thank you, that was a very interesting read. It is quite fascinating to learn about the scale of the thought process of ancient rishis. It would be fascinating if stories like this accompanied by graphic illustrations and data from modern research can be woven into discreet episodes that can be narrated to our future generations. Word of mouth (may be videos in this generation?) is after all one of the most effective means of preserving a culture.

Was it the case that this new information lead to your reinterpretation of the Trishanku story, as is usually the case where new data leads to new theories, or was it the case that the theory already existed and the new discovery adds some data points to it?

Thank yo! Really this is an amazing read with plethora of information scientifically with vedic background. Much appreciated!!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts VirtualPresence. The reality is that a vast number of stories (myths) are yet to be properly understood to convey them without deviating from the Hindu thought. Therefore there is a danger of presenting them in a wrong way. (Even Ramayana is being presented in a very objectionable way in a recent TV series). Where there is proper scientific backing, those stories can be presented with the scientific facts. In my opinion, such understanding with logical and scientific perspective comes only with age. At childhood we listened to these stories with awe and disbelief, but without doubting our faith in our Gods. Therefore my thinking is that let kids be fed with strong faith in Gods while being exposed to these myths. As they grow old and get exposed to science, they would explore and realize the various utilities of these myths.

Yesterday a science research on conflict between science and religion to be present in our brains was published (http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.in/2016/03/the-conflict-between-science-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork+(The+Archaeology+News+Network)#.VvjdmuJ97IU). This conflict will be there for believers of Christian and Muslim faith but certainly not for Hindus. Almost all our myths and stories have either moral reasoning or scientific / logical background ingrained in them. The understanding of them would come with age and experience with life only.

To reply to the second part of your comment, the discovery on the hidden galaxies was reported lat month end. It did fascinate me at the first instance because as an avid star-gazer, I am always perplexed at that part of Great Attractor in the sky as you cannot see any stars in that vast section and the sky also looks dim in that part. I showed a hand made sketch in the article connecting northern sapta rishi mandala to Trishanku (Alpha Centauri). A regular star-gazer would not miss the line of stars as I had shown. That is the only part of the sky in 360 degrees where you will find a line-up from northern end to southern end. In my younger days, I had imagined all sorts of stories / myths to fit with that. But nothing was convincing. Trishanku in the South also looked like a loner to me.

Now when I read about the discoveries in Great Attractor, I started browsing to know the complete details on the galaxies in that section. The presence of Milky way galaxy in the border line between Laniakea and Pisces was an amazing information to me. There is something also in this section which I have not written in the article. It is the presence of "Arrow head super cluster" in the middle of these two massive clusters of north and south. This cluster divides the filaments through which the galaxies move. Somewhere near this cluster, we (Mikly way) had to a take a turn and start moving northward. I was convinced of this as Hindu Thought insists on northern movement for Devayana and that all life is destined for Liberation sometime.

Read about Arrowhead cluster here: https://inspirehep.net/record/1392614/plots
This video also helps to understand easily:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZKQTJrEsLI

The shape of this cluster led me to think of Trishanku and that made me go through the legend of Trishanku from Ramayana to look for clues. This cluster is conical in shape and the super cluster of Laniakea and Pisces along with another super cluster called Coma cluster seem to be rotating this Arrowhead. This fulfills the description of Trishanku as a cone, as a three sided one and as something which the worlds circummabulate. I started writing this article at that time itself (last month end) and came upto Trishanku. But there is one thing that was not convincing to me. It was the fact that we can not view it in the sky. It looked absurd for me to say that our sages got its location (of Arrowhead cluster) by intuition and expect others (both scientists and believers) to accept it in an article where I am trying to prove that Vedic sages had encapsulated science in myths.

I almost gave up continuing this article and started thinking on Trishanku, Alpha centauri and its location as seen from the earth. What I conceived step by step looked logical in course (Vishwamitra, the three blemishes, gayatri mantra and finally south pole star). It looks logical to have Vishwamitra to have identified Trishanku as the South pole star. So I would say that the sages have woven the Trishanku myth by combining the star that existed as the pole star in the south with the Sanatanic moral of leaving off the three ruNas. Every time one looks at the star or thinks of Trishanku, one must remember the three blemishes and work towards removing them by thinking of Trishanku who was helped by the Friend of Vishwam.

To reply to your question, the new data adds credence to Vedic theories of Lunar path in the direction of Great Attractor, absence of Vaishvanara in the south and perhaps Arrowhead cluster as the surging Mriga (Mrigashira) to be discovered some time in future as the direction our Universe is surging. Somewhere in between these I stumbled upon Trishanku as the southern pole star. I have proposed the candidature of Agasthya (Canopus) as a pole star at one time and also Vasishta as a northern pole star at one time based on the myths. I have sent this article to Dr Naraahri Achar, Prof R.N. Iyengar, Dr Subhash Kak, Dr David Frawley and Sri Stephan Knapp. Let me see their response.

Already Dr Sandhya Jain replied that there is "so much in line with Hindu memory what we call myth.."Dr Arun Upadhyay also had responded which I will be posting here.

Śanku and Tri-śanku has several meanings.

Śanku = (1) 1013,
(2) Cone,
(3 Cone shaped gnomon (to measure shadow of sun etc for finding time, latitude),
(4) Curves generated by plane sections of a cone. Cone is an infinite figure formed by rotation of a right angle triangle around its perpendicular. Hypotenus and axis are extended to infinite in both directions.

By section with a plane. 3 curves are formed-(1) Perpendicular to axis-Circle, slightly inclined plane-ellipse
(2) Plane parallel to axis-Hyperbola with 2 parts. Plane exactly passing through axis-2 intersecting lines.
(3) Plane parallel to side-Parabola
Any cosmic object moving in a gravitational field will move in a one of the conic sections-If it is unable to escape gravitational pull, then ellipse ( or circle as special case), (2) If it can just escape, then parabolic orbit-very long ellipse like orbit of comets, (3) Hyperbola if velocity is more than escape velocity.
Thus, all cosmic bodies are held by Śanku (or its plane sections)-
शङ्कु भवत्यह्नो धृत्यै यद्वा अधृतं शङ्कुना तद्दाधार (ताण्ड्य महाब्राह्मण, ११/१०/११)

It is stated that Uṣā moves 30 Dhāma ahead of sun in west (direction of Varuṇa). These, Dhāmas will have varying length on each latitude, it will be largest at equator. Indian convention is that Uṣā is 15 degrees west of sunrise (western convention for higher latitudes of Europe is 18 degree). So, 1 Dhāma yojana = ½ degree on equator. In this scale, distance of Tri-Śanku star is 3 x 1013 yojanas
= 55.5 x 3 x 1013 Kms
= 55.5 x 108 light seconds
= 55.5 x 108/(86400 x 365.5) Light year
= 175.87 Light years. This is approximate distance of Tri-Śanku star.

Dr Upadhyay has given some insights into Shanku and Trishanku. One of the meanings of Shanku is 10 billion. By trishanku it must mean that Trishanku must be 30 billions away from us. Though the Arrowhead super cluster may fit with this, it must be away in terms of millions of light years only. More over with observable star light going up to 13+ billion years, it is illogical to speak about a star at distances far beyond that and claim our sages have spoken about them. As Trishanku story speaks about Southern sapta rishi mandala going round this star, the clue is very much available that the story speaks about the pole star in the southern pole.

The distance of 175.87 light years for Trishanku does not fit Alpha centauri which is only 4+ light years away. It does not fit with Arrowhead cluster either as that must be millions of light years away. The Virgo super cluster is 65 million light years away. Arrowhead which is beyond that must be more than that distance.

Stunning, beyond scaling , size, if we think, makes whole cosmos inside us.


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