The next time if someone asks where you live, you can tell them Laniakea which roughly means “Spacious heaven”. This is a Hawaiian name which has been given by a team of astronomers to the 521 million light year wide supercluster, the Milky Way inhabits.
With this christening, it is clear that the boundaries of a supercluster are defined clearly by the astronomers for the first time. Superclusters are considered to be the largest structures in the cosmos that are seen gathering in local groups and are built from galaxies, which then form the galaxy clusters. For example, the local group of Milky Way contains over 54 galaxies and is around 10.1 million light years across. Its estimated mass is 1.3 trillion times more than that of the sun. roughly, 100,00 galaxies collectively tipping the scales at 100 million billion solar masses are hosted by Laniakea.
With this effort of precisely mapping the large-scale structure, astronomers can get a better understanding of how events at dawn of universe have given rise to the structure that is seen today. There have been subtle quantum fluctuations in the earliest moments of enormous release of energy which gave rise to the universe. Due to this, visible variations were seen in the density of the universe. These variations have been detected by the astronomers as ripples in cosmic microwave background.
Now, with a better understanding of structure of superclusters, scientists can start working backward from what they see today and how close the image dovetails with evolution of structure and its observation.
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