We Are Racing Toward A
"Cosmic Niagara"

12/14/2007



Big Bang Theory is the most widely accepted account
of the origin of the universe.

It holds that some 10 to 20 billion years ago, every-
thing that was to become our universe was contained
in an unimaginably small and dense mass.

Then suddenly, it exploded - hurling matter and
energy outward; eventually forming the universe we
know today.

Consistent with Big Bang theory is the assumption
that all galaxies are flying apart from one another;

and they are doing so in in an orderly, predictable
and uniform manner -

. . like raisins in a rising loaf of bread, or dots on
the surface of an inflating balloon.

- Rem B. Edwards, What Caused The Big Bang?

However, in the late 1980's it was discovered that
the universe was not expanding uniformly;

millions of galaxies seemed to be moving together;
as though they were streaming towards something,

like a raft being pulled downstream . . . toward
some cosmic Niagara

- Dennis Overbye, the New York Times

In 1986 the location of this mysterious, stupendously
large "cosmic Niagara" was reported by a team of
astronomers headed by Sandra M. Faber.

It is to be found in the southern sky, in the direction
of the constellation of Centaurus, some 250 million
light years from the Milky Way.

It is 400 million light years in size; and it's mass,
believed to consist mostly of dark matter, is 100
quadrillion times greater than our Sun.

This colossus is known as The Great Attractor; and
among the galaxies hurtling towards it is our own
Milky Way -

At a speed of more than 1,000,000 miles per hour.


Tags: science
Posted in Facts-Findings

Comments

If we are moving towards something 250 light years away at 1000000 miles per hour, it will take roughly 167654157 years to get there (under newtonian mechanics). So there's no need for me to panic right now. Still interesting though :)
Posted by Jonathan Ville on 12/21/2008 2:14:13 PM
Ever think of using commas to separate the digits in long numbers?
Posted by FFS on 12/21/2008 8:10:35 PM
The Great Attractor is 250 MILLION Light-Years away.
Posted by Todd on 12/21/2008 8:15:22 PM
What? Are you sure it's only 167 million years? That's like a week in geologic time!
Posted by Daniel Brooks on 12/21/2008 8:15:34 PM
Heh. typo. "Some *250 light years* from the Milky Way its is *400 million light* years in size. Aren't these distance normally measured from the centers of the objects? Then we are already *inside* the Great Attractor. 250 light years is too small a distance, the milkyway is 100,000 light years in size. It's 250 million light years.
Posted by SandeepK on 12/21/2008 10:37:33 PM
uh, try 250 MILLION light years away.
Posted by S.o.G. on 12/22/2008 12:30:02 AM
It's probably around 250 million(!) light years, not 250 light years. So the time will even be a little bit longer ;-)
Posted by anonymous on 12/22/2008 4:14:03 AM
"The location of the Great Attractor was finally determined in 1986, and is situated at a distance of somewhere between 150 million and 250 million light years (the latter being the most recent estimate) from the Milky Way, in the direction of the Hydra and Centaurus constellations." 250 million light years not 250 light years
Posted by wikipedia on 12/22/2008 4:19:41 AM
Try 167654 years .
Posted by Kim on 4/14/2009 1:45:13 PM
well thats a long time... anyway... just a thought but what if the reason all the galaxies in the universe seem to be going towards one point and not away from another is because thats already happened, because the bing bang pushed everything away from one point long ago and than it slowed to a stop where the gravity of the universe started bringing us back and wer'e now on our way back... and the great attractor could be a whole lot of stuff already starting to condense back into what the universe was before the big bang, or it could even be the core of the universe left behind from the big bang... please comment about this, it is an interesting and as far as i know, a possible reason. also, we would reach the great attracor quicker than u think because we are speeding up...
Posted by aaron on 11/22/2009 5:08:59 AM
@ aaron "the bing bang"" I like that
Posted by Captainllama on 10/13/2010 4:28:38 AM
Okay, is anyone else confused by this? How do we measure how fast we're going though space if EVERYTHING RELAIVE TO US IS ALSO MOVING WITH US? How is it possible to judge the relative speed that every galaxy is going at if we're all going together? We're like cars moving by each other on a highway, only the highway is going the same speed, too.
Posted by 89257957 on 1/17/2011 10:54:48 PM

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