Great Attractor

The Great Attractor is a gravitational anomaly in intergalactic space and the apparent central gravitational point of the Laniakea Supercluster. The observed anomalies suggest a localized concentration of mass millions of times more massive than the Milky Way. However, it is inconveniently obscured by our own Milky Way’s galactic plane, lying behind the Zone of Avoidance (ZOA), so that, in visible light wavelengths, the Great Attractor is difficult to observe directly. In fact, it will not be for another hundred million years that Earth will be on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy, allowing us to see past the galactic plane.

The anomaly is observable by its effect on the motion of galaxies and their associated clusters over a region of hundreds of millions of light-years across the universe. These galaxies are observable above and below the ZOA; all are redshifted in accordance with the Hubble flow, indicating that they are receding relative to us and to each other, but the variations in their redshifts are large enough and regular enough to reveal that they are slightly drawn towards the anomaly. The variations in their redshifts are known as peculiar velocities and cover a range from about +700 km/s to −700 km/s, depending on the angular deviation from the direction to the Great Attractor.

The Great Attractor itself is moving towards the Shapley Supercluster. Recent astronomical studies by a team of South African astrophysicists revealed a supercluster of galaxies, termed the Vela Supercluster, in the Great Attractor’s theorized location.

SOURCES: Nature Video: (many thanks!)
Great Attractor:
CMB Dipole:
ROSAT paper:
Shapley supercluster:
Cosmic filaments:
Dark Flow:
Virgo supercluster:
Laniakea supercluster:
Dark Flow paper:
Will Great Attractor destroy us?

This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink.