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| Space on Mar 03, 2014

Where is our galaxy in the universe?

A word about our Milky Way galaxy within the Local Group, and the Virgo Cluster and Supercluster.

We know where our galaxy is located – but only locally speaking.

The Milky Way galaxy is one of a few dozen galaxies known as the Local Group.

Astronomers have discovered that our Local Group is on the outskirts of a giant cluster of several thousand galaxies – which astronomers call the Virgo Cluster.

We also know of an irregular supercluster of galaxies, which contains the Virgo Cluster, which in turn contains our Local Group, which in turn contains our Milky Way galaxy and the nearby and Andromeda galaxy. At least 100 galaxy groups and clusters are located within this Virgo Supercluster. Its diameter is thought to be about 110 million light-years.

Yet the Virgo Supercluster is one of millions of superclusters in the observable universe.

To our knowledge, there’s no center of the universe – and no edge. So – beyond our Local Group, the Virgo Cluster and the Virgo Supercluster – it gets tougher to describe our galaxy’s location relative to any special or fixed reference points in space.

Artist's illustration of our Local Group via Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Artist’s illustration of our Local Group via Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Artist's concept of the Virgo Supercluster, via Wikimedia Commons.

Artist’s concept of the Virgo Supercluster, via Wikimedia Commons. Look toward the center to find our Local Group.

Bottom line: A word about our Milky Way galaxy within the Local Group, and the Virgo Cluster and Supercluster.