Where Is Earth In The Universe?

Before the Laniakea Supercluster was outlined in 2014, most astronomers placed the Milky Way inside the Virgo Supercluster. The Laniakea Supercluster is much bigger, containing about 100,000 galaxies and spanning 520 million light-years. Its name is an homage to Polynesian explorers who navigated the Pacific ocean by looking at the stars, and means "immeasurable heaven" in Hawaiian. The definition of "supercluster" is an evolving one, however, and scientists think that our place in the universe may alter yet again as research continues to advance.

Our Home Supercluster

What you need to know about Laniakea.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Milky Way galaxy is nested on the outskirts of the Laniakea Supercluster. 00:39

  2. Most galaxies in the Laniakea Supercluster are being pulled toward a dense area of space called the Great Attractor. 01:54

  3. Scientists defined the boundaries of the Laniakea Supercluster at points where the "flows" of galaxies diverged. 03:09

What Is The Milky Way?

And why does our galaxy bear that name?

The Future of Life In Our Solar System

The Earth's expiration date is coming in about 5 billion years. Then what?

Written by Curiosity Staff February 19, 2016

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