An interactive video has made it possible to reconstruct the trajectories of 1,400 galaxies, including the Milky Way, over distances reaching up to 100 million light years.
In a little over 13 billion years, the Milky Way has traveled more than thirty million light years, gradually moving away from the Local Void (a less dense region that is emptying itself to the benefit of its massive surrounding structures). The fate of our galaxy is forevermore linked to that of its neighbor, the spiral galaxy Andromeda. Gravity should prevail over the expansion of the universe, with a collision of the two galaxies predicted in 4.5 million years.
Our galaxy, like Andromeda, will escape the region's main gravitational attractor, located in the Virgo constellation. On the other hand, all galaxies currently less than forty million light years away will be captured.
For the first time, the trajectories of 1,400 "nearby" galaxies have been reconstructed back to their origin thirteen billion years ago. This visualization is presented in an interactive format.
This work was conducted in collaboration with the University of Maryland, the University of Hawaii, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Irfu.
"Action Dynamics of the Local Supercluster" by Edward J. Shaya, R. Brent Tully, Yehuda Hoffman, and Daniel Pomarède, Astrophysical Journal 850 (2017) 207 doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aa9525
Contact: Daniel Pomarède