Image: (Nature video)
One of the pipe dreams I occasionally entertain is that I have found a way to live on a Hawaiian island. And since this is a complete fantasy I make certain my island home is situated at the end of a long dirt road and that it sits on a rocky outcropping, surrounded by a merrily sloshing surf and whales that salute me with blowhole water jets as they swim past.
It’s a lovely, impossible scene.
But now with the publication of new research we discover that our actual planetary home in the Milky Way is on the outer edge of a vast collection of galaxies that connect through gravity as a supercluster now called Laniakea, which means “Immeasurable Heaven.”
Finally, a Hawaiian name I can add to my address.
It is coastal property, sort of. But rather than overlooking the water we are one with the current, flowing with neighboring galaxies in a long, thin line towards “a gravitational dense basin of galaxies known as the Great Attractor.”
I’m somehow comforted by the knowledge that everything here is being pulled towards The Great Attractor. It explains so much about our behavior. And I’m glad it’s a GREAT attractor that’s dragging us along and not some dumb little diversion that leads absolutely nowhere.
So three months from now, when icy pellets are flying past your window and the temperature is -20, remember that none of this can change the fact that you live on the edge of Laniakea.
Where is the most beautiful place you’ve lived?