New evidence from the European Space Agency’s Atacama Desert telescopes in Chile appears to contradict the “dark attractor” theory. Astronomers have theorized for years that something unknown appears to be pulling our Milky Way and tens of thousands of other galaxies toward itself at a breakneck 22 million kilometers (14 million miles) per hour. But they couldn’t pinpoint exactly what, or where it is.
A huge volume of space that includes the Milky Way and super-clusters of galaxies is flowing towards a mysterious, gigantic unseen mass named mass astronomers have dubbed “The Great Attractor,” some 250 million light years from our Solar System.
The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are the dominant structures in a galaxy cluster called the Local Group which is, in turn, an outlying member of the Virgo supercluster. Andromeda–about 2.2 million light-years from the Milky Way–is speeding toward our galaxy at 200,000 miles per hour.
This motion can only be accounted for by gravitational attraction, even though the mass that we can observe is not nearly great enough to exert that kind of pull. The only thing that could explain the movement of Andromeda is the gravitational pull of a lot of unseen mass–perhaps the equivalent of 10 Milky Way-size galaxies–lying between the two galaxies.
Meanwhile, our entire Local Group is hurtling toward the center of the Virgo Cluster (image above) at one million miles per hour.