(CN) – A 3-dimensional map constructed using advanced telescopes may offer the first proof that the Milky Way Galaxy is being pushed as much as it’s being pulled.
In findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy, researchers present evidence of the Dipole Repeller, a low-density region that pushes matter away, which could contribute to the Milky Way traveling at nearly 1.25 million miles per hour – with respect to the expanding universe.
Scientists have assumed that a dense region of the universe is pulling the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies toward it, with the prime suspect being the Great Attractor – a region of a half dozen rich clusters of galaxies 150 million light-years from Earth.
However, the new research describes how the Dipole Repeller exerts a pushing force on Milky Way and other galaxies in our local group, which supplements the pulling forces stemming from the Great Attractor and the Shapley Concentration, a region 600 million light-years beyond the Great Attractor that scientists believe is also pulling the local group galaxies.
“In addition to being pulled towards the Shapley Concentration, we are also being pushed away from the newly discovered Dipole Repeller,” said lead researcher Yehuda Hoffman. “Thus it has become apparent that push and pull are of comparable importance at our location.”
While the presence of such a low-density region has been suggested, finding scientific proof of its existence and determining its effect on the local group has been difficult.
With the assistance of powerful telescopes, the researchers were able to construct a 3-dimensional map that demonstrated how matter flows away from lower-density regions to higher-concentrated regions, enabling them to represent the pushing forces attributed to the Dipole Repeller.
The team expects future, ultra-sensitive surveys at near-infrared, optical and radio wavelengths will directly identify the few galaxies that may lie in this void, and directly confirm the void associated with the Dipole Repeller.