In a world of news that continues to be depressing, finding a story about “the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe” provided some needed perspective.

As the article says:

In a fascinating¬†new study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a jaw-droppingly massive “supercluster” of galaxies that they named¬†Laniakea.

This structure is much, much, much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this (the Milky Way is just a speck located on one of its fringes on the right):

lanikea_map.0.0

And, it turns out, that the Lanaikea (Hawaiian for “immense heavens”) supercluster is just part of MORE superclusters that make up the universe. Superclusters of galaxies, each galaxy with millions of stars… mind blowing.

Maybe we all need to listen to Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” again? Come on, humanity.