An international team of astronomers has published a new study that sheds light on a huge void surrounding our Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomers first talked about this huge void back in 1987. During that time, Tully and Richard Fisher explained that our Milky Way galaxy lies at the edge of an extensive empty region that they called the Local Void.

But yet we know so little about this structure. That’s because it is extremely obscured from the view of the Earth by the center of our galaxy.

However, now Brent Tully’s team has mapped the size and shape of this extensive empty region bordering the Milky Way. Using the observations of galaxy motions, they infer the distribution of mass responsible for that motion and construct three-dimensional maps of our local Universe. The team has managed to highlight the void’s boundaries, where collections of matter—such as galaxies—begin to appear.

Because of the gravity, galaxies move towards the densest areas and away from places with little mass — the voids.

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Tully and his colleagues have measured the motions of 18,000 galaxies. Therefore, creating a three-dimensional picture of the region of the universe surrounding the Milky Way.

This map has helped scientists better understand a mystery which they have been trying to unravel for three decades.

The fact that the motions of the Milky Way and the neighboring galaxies deviate from the overall expansion speed of the universe by 1.3 million miles per hour, has been puzzling astronomers for a while now. But the latest study shows that the gravitational influence of the Virgo Cluster and the expanding local void are causing about half of this motion.

The team of astronomers has published their study in The Astrophysical Journal.

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