“The Universe is constantly expanding.” You’ve heard that phrase plenty of times, yet have you ever really wrapped your brain around it? If the earth is a planet in the solar system, which is only a part of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of countless others in an infinite universe, and the whole thing just keeps growing – what IS that?!?
Imagine if your house, rather than being located on a quaint little street with neighbors, squirrels, and ice-cream trucks, was just sitting in the middle of nowhere. Just a whole lot of uninhabitable space farther than you could walk, drive, or see. That house is our galaxy, floating around on a giant sea of nada. And that “nada” is only getting bigger as the universe expands exponentially…
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Cosmic beginning of all beginnings 1:11
Area of nothingness right next to us 2:04
Why it’s so interesting to scientists 3:35
What the 3D map shows 5:01
So why is it called a void? 6:50
… And what does it consist of? 7:14
#space #astronomy #brightside
– It all started with the Big Bang. Within an itsy bitsy fraction of a second, the universe was born, and this baby had quite a growth spurt!
– The Milky Way is part of a group of galaxies known as the “Local Group”. The Local Group contains tons of dwarf galaxies.
– The Local Group is itself just a tiny piece of an even larger group of galaxies called the Laniakea Supercluster. It has over 100,000 galaxies, ours being just one of them.
– Next to us is a distinct and vast area of nothingness that astronomers aptly refer to as the Local Void.
– Our Milky Way is moving away from this thing at 160 miles per SECOND!
– Gravity makes galaxies move closer to each other, so these voids expand as objects move away from them.
– Astrophysicists hope that these space voids can tell us something more about Dark Energy.
– The study’s lead author, R. Brent Tully, was also the head of the team that first discovered the Local Void back in 1987.
– Using the information they gathered by observing and measuring what they could see and what they had to infer, they were able to build 3D maps of our corner of the universe.
– The 3D map shows that just as the universe is expanding, so is the Void.
– Over the last 30 years, astronomers have been working hard to understand the movement of the Milky Way, Andromeda, and dwarf neighbors. They all appear to be different from the overall understood expansion of the Universe by over 372 miles per second.
– So, is this void next to us actually just 150 million light-years of nothing? Yeah, pretty much.
– Ironically, because of all the nothingness there is inside of space voids like our own, these things still find themselves filled up with something. And that is what’s known as “Dark Energy”.
– And scientists aren’t sure what it is, but the best guess is that it has something to do with the vacuum of space-time.
– Dark energy is free to do its thing and expand and expand and expand some more. The expansion of the universe happens mostly within these voids, and as they push out on their surroundings, they drive more galaxies apart.
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