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I'm a bit confused!


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I recently watched the two part series, Secrets of size, hosted by Jim Al-Khalili. The first episode discussed the very smallest things, atoms and their components and the second the universe at the very largest scales. Being a V.A.A. ( Very Amateur Astronomer ), I am left feeling a little confused. 

Jim describes a phenomenon known as a Supercluster and in particular one with the name Laniakea meaning immense heaven in Hawaiian of which we are apparently part of. In the simplest terms, all of the galaxies in our corner of the universe appear to be heading toward Laniakea. 

Now being a fan of Mr Brian Cox and the many space related programs he has produced, I'm sure I heard him say that everything in the universe will be so far away from everything else that if we were fortunate to survive the death of our star, etc, etc, we would look out into the heavens and see nothing but a black starless sky. Now, if Jim is correct, that would not be the case and perhaps we would ultimately be heading toward a 'big crunch' as I would imagine the forces involved in something as enormous as a Supercluster might eventually lead to a coming together much like the one that will happen when the Milky Way meets Andromeda....but on a completely different scale.

If I haven't sent you to sleep, I'd be interested in your views, even if you think I'm missing the point!    



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  • 3 weeks later...

I hadn't heard of Laniakea, but apparently it's the galaxy super-supercluster of which the Virgo supercluster is a part.

The Milky Way is in our Local galactic Group, which is in the Virgo supercluster, so we are a part of Laniakea.
Our galaxy is being pulled towards the center of gravity in our local supercluster (along with the Andromeda galaxy!), and our local group in turn is being pulled towards the other groups in Virgo, etc.


It's slightly mindbending, but not more so than considering that space itself is expanding so that a if you measure a distance with a ruler that distance won't change because the ruler itself is expanding at the same rate as everything else!



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