This, the largest mass yet viewed by the human eye, is an image of galaxies. There are only 6 stars in the image within our own Milky Way. Everything else is a galaxy.
There are millions of them in this image, and they are all, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, rushing at 5,500,000 miles per hour (this may seem impossibly fast, but the speed of light, SoL, is 670,615,200 MPH) to a place called 'The Great Attractor', as pictured above. What it is, is virtually unknown and how and why it has such an overwhelming effect in the Universe and in our region of the observable Universe, on so many galaxies and super clusters of galaxies, all rushing to some unknown place and force, is less understood than ever before.
It just is. No one knows why and no one can guess what is the core makeup of The Great Attractor and how it can do what it does. There are no physics models to explain it, even in theory.
For starters, its gravitational pull, the weak force and the weakest force in the cosmos, is beyond anything yet known for sheer influence. Whatever it is and however it is able to effect so much mass on such a gigantic scale is anyone's guess.
And on the other side of this Great Barrier, commonly called "The Wall', is as many galaxies all rushing towards it, or towards us, in the same fashion and speed, in the opposite direction. This includes even the giant Shapley Super Cluster on the other side of the The Great Attactor.
Its core effect as far as it can be discerned--the most faintest points in the image, indicating the farthest away galaxies, lie at about 200,000,000 light years distant from Earth. The entire region of effect for The Great Attractor is so large it actually takes up nearly 1/5 of the visible universe, as known at this time. And further, it is postulated that the Universe may have 4 of these Attractors. But what are they?
Some of the known answers are quite compelling. First, the speed we are traveling towards The Great Attractor is 0.08% the speed of light (SoL). At this speed we are being effected by 'time' as well as mass and location. With this, it infers we are being effected in ways we cannot know at this time. It way well be a corridor into another Universe, different than wormhole theory or the like.
And so much of The Great Attractor is blocked from origin view by an area known only as 'The Great Avoidance Zone'.
Additionally, the sheer magnitude of this thing(s) and why it is there, wrecks all other neatly learned understandings of the formation of the Universe, in Planck Time. (10^21 = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of a second) when the Big Bang occurred and why these things would be a part of that creation. Suffice to say, the JWST (the replacement for HST, the James Webb Space Telescope) will tells us much more, but till then, this and the other 4 Attractors, are the biggest vexing puzzle in the cosmos today for our known time-place.
Comments and thoughts welcome.
Edited by RAMS, 30 March 2007 - 07:25 AM.