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Matrix Software > Learng Astrology > Astrophysical Directions > External Galaxies > Local Group Motion

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Back to External Galaxies   |   Back to Astrophysical Direction 

The Motion of the Local Group

Recent investigations (1976) into the nature of the motion of our Galaxy and the entire local group of galaxies indicates that the Milky Way is moving almost edge-on through space and that the leading edge is in the anticancer direction. Our galaxy along with the local group appears to be moving with an approximate velocity of 454 km/sec toward a point in the constellation Perseus, roughly in the direction of NGC 1499, the California Nebula.

The direction is as listed:

R. A. Decl. Longitude Latitude Intersect L2 B2
063 00 14 +35 26 11 067 35 13 +14 04 05 064 56 59 163 00 00 -11 00 00

The direction of this motion is approximately at a right angle to the direction of the center of the local supercluster, the Virgo Cluster. A question astronomers are attempting to decide is: is the local supercluster rotating, and are we orbiting the Virgo cluster? We cannot be in a bound Keplerian-type of orbit, for at our present distance from the center of the Virgo Cluster, such an orbit would take a time period of ten times the age of the Universe!

It is suggested that we may have moved away from a closer orbit in the same fashion that the ends of spiral-arms trail away from the nuclei of galaxies. At any rate, it appears that we are moving at about a right angle or edge-on toward SGL (supergalactic longitude) = 351° and SGB = -26°. We are moving, so it appears, away from the center of the Supergalaxy (the Virgo Cluster) and slightly below the Supergalactic plane.

As we have seen, galaxies are often members of pairs, triplets and groups of increasing multiplicity. In fact, grouping or clustering (as it is called) is the rule rather than the exception. The Large Small Magellanic Clouds form a close pair and along with our galaxy, a loose triplet. M.31 (Andromeda) is the major component of a triplet, including the two elliptical galaxies M.32 and NGC 205, and of a loose group with M.33 and the smaller ellipticals NGC 147 and 185.

Both the M.31 group and our galaxy's group are associated with a larger grouping: the local group. There are other groups similar to our own relatively nearby and the clustering phenomena does not stop with groups of galaxies. Galaxies appear to be arranged in a hierarchy of clusters. In fact, the tendency toward clustering increases with higher order structuring.

Copyright (c) 1997-99 Michael Erlewine

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