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Welcome To Laniakea, Our New Cosmic Home

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the where-the-cosmic-heart-is dept.

Space 67

astroengine writes Using a new mapping technique that takes into account the motions — and not just the distances — of nearby galaxies, astronomers discovered that the Milky Way is located in the suburb of a massive, previously unknown super-cluster they named Laniakea, a term from Hawaiian words meaning "immeasurable heaven." Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize. The super-cluster spans 520 million light-years in diameter, more than five times larger than the cluster previously believed to be the Milky Way's cosmic home.

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A body in motion etc. (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47818809)

So I get the idea of the new grouping. Some things we used to consider our neighbors, we're actually just flying past and have no long term connection to.

I get why that's useful. But I don't get why it'd replace our existing grouping. For a human lifespan, that grouping is all but permanent.

Re:A body in motion etc. (5, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47818913)

It replaces the new grouping in much the same way Einstein replaced Newtonian mechanics. It is a more accurate description of our place in the universe, just as relativity is a more accurate description of moving bodies, even if on human scales the two are nearly indistinguishable.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819111)

It replaces the new grouping in much the same way Einstein replaced Newtonian mechanics.

No it does not and that analogy is complete bullshit.

A better comparison would be the evolution of Standard Def to HD. This new discovery was due to analysis of data that simply took a awhile to piece together and is not even close to providing a fundamental change in our understanding of the workings of the Universe.

We merely have a better picture of the composition of our local section of the Universe.

Re:A body in motion etc. (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 2 months ago | (#47819193)

It replaces the new grouping in much the same way Einstein replaced Newtonian mechanics.

No it does not and that analogy is complete bullshit.

Don't waste your precious analogies on Slashdot; they'll only be torn to pieces.

Re:A body in motion etc. (3, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 months ago | (#47819999)

Analogies are never exact correspondences. They're simply more or less useful. People who replace 'useful' with 'accurate' in that sentence are like a clown car full of lawyers in a fruit flavored hailstorm.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47820249)

Analogies are never exact correspondences. They're simply more or less useful. People who replace 'useful' with 'accurate' in that sentence are like a clown car full of lawyers in a fruit flavored hailstorm.

A clownish lemon party, if you will.

Re:A body in motion etc. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#47823867)

Don't waste your precious analogies on Slashdot; they'll only be torn to pieces.

Unless they're car analogies. Then they'll be driven into the ground.
Allow me: this new super cluster discovery is like finding out your car isn't just driving up the ramp of a semi trailer, but that the semi-trailer is on the deck of an air-craft carrier.

Re:A body in motion etc. (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47819243)

Please don't mistake your inability to comprehend the basis of comparison in an analogy for a mistake in the analogy, TIA

What The Hell Is Wrong With You People? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819883)

A better analogy would be from switching from carburetors to fuel injection.

This is Slashdot. Car analogies, people. Car analogies.

Re:What The Hell Is Wrong With You People? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819897)

Carburetors are glorified toilets.

Re:What The Hell Is Wrong With You People? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 months ago | (#47820705)

I realize you are an AC troll and this is way off topic. But it's apparent you don't know a damn thing about carburetors.

Obviously fuel injection is fantastic, and you'd only choose a carb over FI for specific reasons. But it's like comparing an HP scientific calculator to a Babbage engine. One is a very functional and practical solution using modern technology. The other is amazing tech from the past and frankly a mechanical marvel.

FI is going to look pretty silly when we're all driving around with Mr. Fusion powering our cars.

Cool Tech (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 months ago | (#47823063)

Fuel injection will never look as cool as two high CFM Holley four barrel carbs sitting above an engine, in series with a blower plenum. Or six two-barrels. Never. :)

Just the same way my state of the art Marantz home theater will never look as cool as my late 1970's 2325 Marantz receiver.

A particular technology may be peak, performance wise; but that's no indicator it's the peak aesthetically as well.

Clipper ships / modern freighters. Another good example. Beauties and the beasts.

etc.

Re:Cool Tech (1)

Cragen (697038) | about 2 months ago | (#47823931)

Indeed. In 1984, I bought a complete Pioneer stereo system (FM Receiver, 200W Amp [0.02% THD - woot!], Cassette Tape (i repeat, Tape) Deck, 2 Speakers (a yard-high each), all total for about $2000) and was bummed that I didn't have enough money for a Reel-to-Reel unit. The whole thing (along with my record and tape collection) took up most of one wall in our living room. In 1985, the whole thing could be had for about $500 in something the size of a car radio, with BETTER SOUND. Egads. But I still remember that wall of stereo stuff quite fondly.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47824539)

Disagree.

Like our new cosmic zip code, Newton => Einstein didn't cost me anything. Standard Def => HD was damn expensive.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819123)

Except that Einstein didn't replace Newtonian mechanics. The theory you use is dependent on the scale and speeds you're dealing with. Both theories fail when they try to tread on each others ground.

Re:A body in motion etc. (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47819277)

Einstein didn't replace Newtonian mechanics? Tell that to the astronomers who conceived of Vulcan to explain Mercury's orbit.

Re:A body in motion etc. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47819595)

For non-relativistic calculations, Newtonian mechanics remain a useful set of formulas. Relativity didn't replace Newtonian mechanics so much as subsume it.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47820021)

AGAIN: The theory you use is dependent on the scale and speeds you're dealing with.
 
Or can't you read?

Re:A body in motion etc. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47820649)

AGAIN: You're a fucking cretin. The fact that Newtonian mechanics is much easier to use than relativistic mechanics does not mean that GR "fails" when it "treads on" Newtonian mechanics' "ground". The fact that you are a fuckwit who knows nothing about relativity does not mean that GR "fails" when it "treads on" Newtonian mechanics' "ground". The fact that your mum is an idiot who fucked a chimp does not mean you're a total moron, but it's pretty fucking suggestive.

Learn the blindest thing about what you're talking about before you mouth off about it, you retarded cunt.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47820983)

This is actually incorrect.

Classical mechanics is wrong at all velocities in our universe however much like how pi doesn't equal 3.15149 but the difference is only mesurable in unusual circumstances, classical mechanics is close enough to be indistinguishable from correct in basicly all non-spaceflight applications.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819581)

No they don't.

In what way does either special or general relativity "fail when they try to tread on [Newtonian] ground"? Just because you neither understand special and general relativity and are entirely incapable of working with its maths does not mean that it "fails" - it just means you should educate yourself before spouting off.

Tell you what, fellow AC -- why don't you go and read up on the Newtonian limit of GR, take a look at the post-Newtonian approximation, linear GR, etc. You'll quickly find that the lapse -- the perturbation to the time-time component of the metric -- corresponds *exactly* to the Newtonian potential in regimes where we might expect Newtonian gravity to hold (low speeds, weak gravitational fields). You'll also very quickly see that relativistic dynamics, whether special or general, reduce *exactly* to the Newtonian equations in regimes where we might expect Newtonian relativity to hold (low speeds).

That does not mean that relativity "fails". It means that *you* fail, and that the two relativities are both supersets of Newtonian theory. In a similar vein, one can rapidly interpret general relativity as a superset of special relativity -- hence the names -- although when you look at the actual ideas special relativity is a theory of, well, relativity while general relativity is a theory of gravity.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819513)

It replaces the new grouping in much the same way Einstein replaced Newtonian mechanics. It is a more accurate description of our place in the universe, just as relativity is a more accurate description of moving bodies, even if on human scales the two are nearly indistinguishable.

The whiff of pointlessness coming from this new steaming pile is nearly indistinguishable from the old steaming pile.

We're standing around arguing what color highways should be on the interstellar road atlas when we haven't even made it out of the fucking galactic garage yet.

Re:A body in motion etc. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 months ago | (#47819047)

If we were only thinking in terms of human lifespans, most science would be irrelevant. Geology and climatology? That stuff hardly changes in a human lifetime! Astronomy? Why bother with anything beyond Pluto?

Thinking within a human lifespan is very short sighted for anything but what you want to achieve before you die. You could even argue that the grouping is practically permanent for the lifespan of our species, but that grouping would still be technically wrong compared to our best knowledge.

Re:A body in motion etc. (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47819087)

Bullshit on so many fronts.

Let's start with your mischarcterization of sciences, then go to your mischaracterization of my post.
Climatology affects a shit ton of day-to-day life. Absolutely 100% vital for modern agricultural planning, even setting asside that climate change is more immediate than you're giving it credit for. Geology is markedly relevant to anyone doing resource exploration, today, on top of its importance in seismology and vulcanology.

So that's bullshit #1. Those things do, in fact, have huge implications in human lifespans.

Bullshit #2 is that I made it explicitly clear that I understand the value of the new classification to cosmology. And was only critiquing the language of replacement.

Re:A body in motion etc. (1)

MindlessGenius (1263520) | about 2 months ago | (#47825477)

Based on these recent discoveries it would appear the old copernican relative heliocentric perception of time needs some serious adjustments, since degree based graduations are now degraded to sub galactic time with the new super galactic model...

I wonder what time it really is based on this time scale.
Anyone has any idea?

'Musican (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47818835)

If it is that fat it must be an American super cluster.

Re:'Musican (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 months ago | (#47819865)

You want Dark Matter with that for a dollar more?

Re: 'Musican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47822355)

Protip mods: Insightful is not a suitable replacement for Funny.

Re: 'Musican (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 months ago | (#47823011)

Protip n00b: a post can only get so many mods of a specific type. Funny limit got hit, so people chose insightful, when they should have chosen underrated.

Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47823099)

If it is that fat it must be an American super cluster.

Yeah, we know it's not european because there's no sign of hairy armpit nebulae, wooly leg superclusters, star spectrums completely missing the deodorant line, or clouds of warm beer molecule based dark matter. No sign of aliens duking it out over a soccer ball, either.

Beer. Space. Arghh. Now I have to go re-read Pohl's "The Makeshift Rocket." See what you've done?

*Looks up* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47818855)

Seems indistinguishable from our old cosmic home to me, don't know why we bothered moving.

There goes the neighborhood. (3, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 2 months ago | (#47818871)

The Universe was such a nice place before all this suburban sprawl took over. Stupid commuters.

Just 520M LY? (3, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#47818949)

Hell, that's less than 160 MegaParsecs. Not that much bigger than the already-cramped Virgo Supercluster at 33MPa. Still the name is quite nice.

LOL ... (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47818959)

Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize

Your momma so fat ...

Re:LOL ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819311)

or this is the part where she puts her forearm up next to it...

Re:LOL ... (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 months ago | (#47823015)

It's sad that this is probably one of the last places this kind of joke can be made, since Fark took the shit plunge.

Great (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 months ago | (#47818975)

Just what we needed another taxing authority.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819085)

And hyperspace route planning commission.
Let's hope there are no plans clearly on display in one of those other galaxies in the cluster...

Re:Great (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47819227)

Just through the door marked 'Beware of the Leopard'.

Re:Great (2)

nytes (231372) | about 2 months ago | (#47819745)

Not only that. Now I have to have all my address labels reprinted!

Re:Great (1)

Hussman32 (751772) | about 2 months ago | (#47821739)

I'm curious why you want to repeal the popular election of senators?

Difficult to measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819017)

Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize.

I understand that pain too.

Difficult to measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819077)

Sort of, but most horse porn is actually one horse/one human for safety reasons. Horse cocks are extremely girthy and there is much preparation for both sucking off the horse and letting it fuck you, not to mention there's really not much more than one human can do on a single horse, i for one would definitely never put my cock near a horse's mouth, and I've seen too many people kicked by horses to want to sneak up on its rear end while some else is sucking it off, vaginal penetration (man on horse) is possible but also extremely risky and dangerous, and requires a very calm mare. Also, if you can think of any possible way to have two dudes fucking the horse's ass AND it's vagina, let me know because the logistics are complicated and I'm not a gymnast. Not to mention that horses are notoriously difficult to force into working together. I grew up on a farm and I never ever saw a horse gangbang, however although I'm not gay I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't utterly fascinated by watching the horse cocks go from soft to utterly gigantic.

Not that massive (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 months ago | (#47819075)

1 cubic light year of water [wolframalpha.com] should weight thousands of times more than it, at least if there is enough oxigen in the universe to make that cube.

Al Gore warned about it. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47819237)

You know, if you keep building more and more high ways the cities will sprawl uncontrollably. Al Gore warned us about it back in 2000. (If he had not, he would have, I mean at least it is the sort of thing he would have warned about). Now we have sprawled to some 500 million light year diameter. When you face that impossibly long commute, remember that prophetic sage.

Re:Al Gore warned about it. (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 2 months ago | (#47823993)

You know, if you keep building more and more high ways the cities will sprawl uncontrollably. Al Gore warned us about it back in 2000. (If he had not, he would have, I mean at least it is the sort of thing he would have warned about). Now we have sprawled to some 500 million light year diameter. When you face that impossibly long commute, remember that prophetic sage.

Al Gore is not a prophet

If a tree falls in a wood (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47819531)

What was I about to say? Oh - yes. And all this vast space with dark matter and dark energy and galaxies and gas and stars and planets. And if there's nothing intelligible there, nothing intelligent, no thought whatsoever. Just physical world, nohingness filled with the quiet and sometimnes not so quiet clockwork of time and physics and particles. Then us, we, here -- do we even exist?

It seems to make sense to me . . . (2)

mmell (832646) | about 2 months ago | (#47819559)

. . . the further we're able to look, the larger the structures we'll be able to perceive.

Not surprising (3, Insightful)

Stardner (3660081) | about 2 months ago | (#47819681)

We've gone from a geocentric model to being part of a galactic super-cluster. It seems to me that our reality is fractal in nature; and it wouldn't surprise me if at every step we find our reality to be a cell of a much larger one.

Re:Not surprising (3, Interesting)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 2 months ago | (#47820715)

You're not the only one to start thinking along these lines. You might be interested in this somewhat random and unrepresentative set of papers:

http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/... [arxiv.org]
http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.4280 [arxiv.org]
http://arxiv.org/abs/1103.0552 [arxiv.org]
http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.4688 [arxiv.org]
http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.5554 [arxiv.org]

I know very little about this area myself but it seems relatively settled that the fractal dimension of the universe - if such can be defined and has a meaningful interpretation - is between 2.5 and 3.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Stardner (3660081) | about 2 months ago | (#47823215)

Thanks for the links. The math is beyond my understanding, but still interesting reading.

I'm trying to visualize what the consequences of a universe existing in itself are. If the whole is defined by its parts and its parts defined by the whole, is every action within the system an expression of infinity? It makes intelligent life's creative ability seem almost godly.

Re:Not surprising (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 2 months ago | (#47830091)

Thankfully for our aching heads, unless our understanding of the laws of physics is very wrong, probably not. The structure of the universe being fractal in nature doesn't imply that *everything* in reality is fractal -- it implies that gravity will tend to construct fractal structures, when dealing with objects in a large enough number. Down at our level, there's too much competition with other forces, primarily electromagnetic although on some Solar and planetary scale objects such as neutron stars the forces are a bit more exotic in nature, to be purely governed by gravity and so a different framework takes shape. A fundamental interconnectedness of everything is a nice idea, but it would make my head hurt, and isn't justified by our current understanding of physics. (Which, of course, may change - and which also in itself doesn't rule out there being at least some level of self-similarity between systems dominated by electromagnetic forces and systems dominated by gravitational forces, given the similarity in their behaviour.)

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47821231)

We've gone from a geocentric model to being part of a galactic super-cluster. It seems to me that our reality is fractal in nature; and it wouldn't surprise me if at every step we find our reality to be a cell of a much larger one.

Heh, you mean fractals are like reality, not the other way around.

Misplaced? (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47819765)

I can't click-open the article. Imagine if we slashdotted an entire Beowulf cluster of galaxies.

Seriously, though, how could we have missed that many nearby galaxies for so long? Did we not see them, underestimate their size, miscalculate their location or direction due to dust being in the way?

Summary is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47819787)

Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize. The super-cluster spans 520 million light-years in diameter, more than five times larger than the cluster previously believed to be the Milky Way's cosmic home.

520 million light years in diameter is about half of Rosie O'Donnell's waist. So, in actuality, it isn't so difficult to conceptualize.

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47820151)

Think of all the resources we can get there once we can 3D print private space tourist rockets! It's the Second Space Age!

That's very large... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 months ago | (#47820943)

One wonders how long it will be until it's entirely represented in Elite: Dangerous. :)

This is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47821223)

We all live in Hawaii now!

Damn it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47821563)

Now I have to get new return labels for interstellar shipping.

kinda puts it into perspective (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 2 months ago | (#47822283)

..we go from 520 million light years in our local group to what? 46 billion light years of known universe, shy of 28 billion light years observable? If this new label represents a neighbourhood, then the universe is what, a small town?

Where's the difficulty in conceptualising?

Re:kinda puts it into perspective (1)

vladisglad (1214592) | about 2 months ago | (#47822531)

If the small town has about 100 neighborhoods. If the universe is 10x10 street blocks then this is like finding the street you live on?

Re:kinda puts it into perspective (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 2 months ago | (#47822589)

I grew up on a housing estate, I went to a school where I knew the names of every one of the other 740 students there and all 44 teachers. I knew where most of them lived as well - every one of them within two miles of my home. That four square miles was way more than a hundred square blocks (though you couldn't really refer to unplanned urban sprawl as being anything like "block"-y, it is certainly more than ten vehicle streets to a side).

Re:kinda puts it into perspective (1)

vladisglad (1214592) | about 2 months ago | (#47822837)

Either way how you scale this still seems like it's finding our place is a now much smaller universe. This is going to be some of the last stuff that's observable to us.

Hypocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47823363)

Laniakea, meaning "immeasurable heaven". But we have just measured it right?

Thought someone moved in to my old hood (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 2 months ago | (#47823905)

Laniakea is also a place in Oahu I used to live, so my first thought is why does anyone care who moves to a little town on an island.

Land of Ikea? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47824141)

just saying..

We don't know anything (1)

Jonifico (3799211) | about 2 months ago | (#47824679)

It's crazy how lost we can be in the universe. I mean, we might get a new home in the immensity anytime soon.
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