A friend asks, are superclusters the new multiverse? From Nature:
The supercluster of galaxies that includes the Milky Way is 100 times bigger in volume and mass than previously thought, a team of astronomers says. They have mapped the enormous region and given it the name Laniakea — Hawaiian for ‘immeasurable heaven’.
This is a completely new definition of a supercluster. Scientists previously placed the Milky Way in the Virgo Supercluster, but under Tully and colleagues’ definition, this region becomes just an appendage of the much larger Laniakea, which is 160 million parsecs (520 million light years) across and contains the mass of 100 million billion Suns.
Although the map is comprehensive over the Universe around the Milky Way, its distance measurements become less accurate, and less numerous, the farther out you go, says Lopes. This is currently the technique’s biggest potential source of error, he says, but adding more galaxy measurements will improve the map and could eventually help scientists to fully trace what is behind the motion of our local group of galaxies.
New multiverse? Depends. The reason the multiverse became an “item” in cosmology was to get rid of the idea of a beginning in a Big Bang and also of the apparent fine-tuning of the universe, mainly dueto their compatibility with theism.
It became obvious that many cosmologists were prepared to believe pretty much anything else, as the following stories show:
The multiverse: Where everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion
As if the multiverse wasn’t bizarre enough …meet Many Worlds
But who needs reality-based thinking anyway? Not the new cosmologists
Multiverse cosmology: Assuming that evidence still matters, what does it say?
So, the skinny: Superclusters won’t replace the multiverse unless they can do the multiverse’s main job: To make everything true, so that nothing is really.
Laniakea? Virgo? Dunno. They’re just superclusters, really, so far as we know.
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