Pondering Our Place in the Stars-The Great Attractor

Science FACTion Column by Rahasya Poe

Has anyone ever accused you of “not being in touch with reality”? Well, the truth is, none of us is. Stop and think about this: To begin with, we can perceive only a tiny amount of information from the electromagnetic scale with our senses. Then add to that the fact that we can experience only three dimensions of a multidimensional reality (scientists say there are at least 11 dimensions). Now throw in the fact that everything we experience is somewhere around 5 percent of the known matter in the universe; the rest is dark matter and dark energy. So what we end up perceiving is a tiny bit of reality and then our minds filter out even that tiny bit based on our preconceived beliefs about the world we live in. So are we in touch with reality? I think not.

            So keep this in mind as we ponder the “Great Attractor.” What is the Great Attractor? Astronomers have known about this for some time. “Something” is pulling our Milky Way galaxy toward it at something like 14 million miles per hour; fortunately the Great Attractor is more than 250 million light years away so it will take some time to get there.

            But it’s pulling much more than our galaxy. We, along with Andromeda, are part of the Local Group of about 30 galaxies that are part of the Virgo Supercluster, which is large beyond what we can think of or even imagine. The Andromeda galaxy is speeding toward us at close to 200,000 miles per hour, but we and the Local Group that we are in are speeding toward the center of the Virgo Supercluster at an average speed of 1 million miles per hour. Something is out there and it’s pulling everything into it.

            Most of the concentration of galaxies lies beyond the Great Attractor near the Shapley Supercluster, which is 500 million light years away, and the pull that we are experiencing is from those galaxies and the Great Attractor. Some of the latest ideas are that there may be several Great Attractors, so this discovery is in its infancy.

            So the next time you feel yourself getting bored with your life, ponder this and many other facts that we are observing as technology opens our senses to new worlds, realities, and ideas. Carl Sagan once said that we are the universe’s way to become conscious and ponder itself, and as I sit here pondering this one thought, I feel myself being drawn toward something unknown where “fact” and “fiction” collide. Mark Twain put it best when he said, “No wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”

 

Rahasya Poe, Rahasya@usa.com

For more information on Rahasya visit www.RahasyaPoe.com