(ORDO NEWS) — Everything in our universe is in motion, but the time scales needed to observe this motion often far exceed the duration of a human life. In a major new study, an international team of astronomers has tracked the movement of 10,000 galaxies and galaxy clusters spanning a region of space some 350 million light-years across.
Scientists tracked the movement of these objects over a time interval of 11.5 billion years – from the era of the formation of these galaxies, when the age of our Universe was still only 1.5 billion years, and up to the present day, when the age of the Universe exceeds 13 billion years.
Using a mathematical method called the numerical action method, the team calculated the desired trajectories based on the current brightness and position of the galaxies, as well as the speed at which they are moving away from us.
Astronomers have made calculations using data from Big Bang physics, including the notion that galaxies initially began to move away from each other in almost exactly the same way as Hubble’s expansion rate.
Over time, gravity gradually changed the parameters of the movement of galaxies, so the uniform removal of galaxies from each other due to expansion began to be supplemented by local clustering with the formation of filaments, membrane-like structures and clusters of galaxies, between which there are huge voids – voids.
As the universe evolves, the speed of movement of galaxies, due to the action of these factors, begins to deviate from the exact value of the Hubble expansion velocity. In regions with increased density, the orbits of galaxies have a complex shape, and collisions and mergers occur between galaxies.
The model built by the authors also helped to better understand the most mysterious structures of the Universe, such as, for example, the Great Attractor – a giant area that attracts a huge number of galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
The retrospective reconstruction of the orbits of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, performed by the team, allowed a deeper understanding of the nature of this mysterious center of gravity.
The work was published in the Astrophysical Journal; lead author Ed Shaya of the University of Maryland, USA.
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