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May 14, 2015

Slice of Laniakea supercluster in supergalactic equatorial plane

A slice of the Laniakea supercluster in the supergalactic equatorial plane. The colors in this slice represent density, with red for high densities and blue for voids. Individual galaxies are shown as white dots. Velocity flow streams within the region gravitationally dominated by Laniakea are shown in white.

Galaxies are not distributed randomly throughout the universe. Instead, they are found in groups--like our own Local Group--that contain dozens of galaxies, and in massive clusters containing hundreds of galaxies, all interconnected in a web of filaments in which galaxies are strung like pearls. Where these filaments intersect, there are huge structures called "superclusters." These structures are interconnected, but they have poorly defined boundaries. An international team of astronomers has defined the contours of the immense supercluster of galaxies containing our own Milky Way. They have named the supercluster "Laniakea," meaning "immense heaven" in Hawaiian.

To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story Hawaii scientist maps and names Laniakea, our home supercluster of galaxies.

This research was funded by National Science Foundation grant AST 09-08846. Results of this research were published in Nature and are available Here. There is also a video preview of "Laniakea Supercluster," a film produced as part of the Nature story "The Laniakea Supercluster of Galaxies," published in volume 513, number 7516, p.71 (4 September 2014) by R. Brent Tully, Hélène Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman and Daniel Pomarède. (Date of Image: September 2014)

Credit: Video created using SDvision interactive visualization software by Daniel Pomarède, Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe, Saclay, France

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