So you’ve been mucking about with hyperspace and found yourself at a party in another Universe? At this point it’s hard to get an Uber home, Google maps aren’t interstellar yet and the stars overhead don’t look in any way familiar…
You might have even made friends there and want to invite them round for tea—how are you going to tell them your address in the big wide scheme of things?
You need a universal address.
Let’s take a note from Eric Idles book and break down the parts—
You might be familiar with this part. Earth is the home of all the things we know and love, it is also the home of every human that has ever lived. Carl Sagan says it best:
This blue marble/dot is your street number—
Walking down the road you notice the other houses that make up the street…
Earth is the third planet out from our local star, the sun.
The Solar System street consists of;
- 1 Star
- 8 Planets
- 6 Dwarf Planets
- 178 Moons
- 3,467 Comets
- 732,884 Asteroids
All of the houses on the street revolve in gravitational grip around the Sun.
A handy road sign for intergalactic travel.
At the end of the street, we leave the familiar and easily observed behind.
Looking back we can see the house on our street…
Now we are entering the suburb—
Our Solar System is one of many that make up The Milky Way galaxy.
Between 200 to 400 billion stars call the Milky Way home, all with possible solar systems of their own—it’s a gigantic little neighbourhood. All held together by a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A at the galactic center.
To make things a little tricky our whole street is moving through the Suburb (specifically the Orion-Cygnus spur see above marked Sun) at a speed of around 828,000 km/hr (we make the galactic round trip every 225 to 250 million years).
The suburb is one of many that make up the larger city structures, like the—
Beyond the Suburban galactic fringe, our address starts to really get messy.
The #VirgoSupercluster (Virgo SC) or the #LocalSupercluster (LSC or LS) is a mass concentration of #galaxies that contains the #VirgoCluster in addition to the Local Group, which in turn contains the #MilkyWay and #AndromedaGalaxies. At least 100 galaxy groups and clusters are located within its diameter of 33 megaparsecs (110 million light-years). It is one of about 10 million superclusters in the #observableuniverse. A 2014 study indicates that the Virgo Supercluster is only a lobe of a greater supercluster, #Laniakea, which is centered on the Great Attractor.
The vast distances of space need more defining lines than just suburbs and streets.
The Virgo Supercluster is a way of saying “The northern suburbs”
The Milky Way is within the Virgo Supercluster as part of ‘the Local Group’, which body corporates with Andromeda and 54 other ‘local’ galaxies.
Laniakea is a newly defined supercluster that is made up of four other superclusters including the Virgo supercluster. It’s the equivalent of saying you live in Melbourne when you actually live in Brunswick East or Coburg. The whole place as part—Synecdoche Supercluster.
100,000 large galaxies call Laniakea home. It is 500 million light years across and contains the mass of 100 quadrillion times the mass of our sun. Massive is not even close.
The common sign post of gravitational influence for all systems in Laniakea is a dense center called ‘The Great Attractor’. A depression in space that all of the galaxies in the supercluster seem to be slowly drifting towards. Who needs science fiction really?
The Universe that we can see.
This image is the Hubble Deep Field, an image that is the furthest that we have seen with light. Both in terms of distance and time. Almost all of the points of light are galaxies.
This is the very limit of light observation.
Made up of supercluster structures and voids the observable Universe forms a foam-like superstructure against the light that has traveled the furthest away from us on Earth. Beyond this point, the universe is not yet old enough for light from there to have time to reach us. #reallybizarreconcepttogetyourheadaround.
Any sort of address metaphor kind of dissipates into the background radiation of the known universe at this point.
Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to go gallivanting off in another Universe.
All of space and time. Size Unknown. Endless possibility.
Maybe it was.
Your Cosmic Address: