If the universe were a block of Swiss cheese, the Milky Way would sit within one of the cheesy holes.
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers showed that the Milky Way exists in a part of the universe that's largely devoid of matter. Being in this void, however, could help settle the differences in measuring the rate of the universe's expansion.
A team of researchers says the Milky Way resides in one of the observable universe’s darkest regions, but some experts aren't so sure.
If you went to give our cosmic address, you might tell someone that we lived on planet Earth, orbiting our Sun, on the outskirts of a spur of the Milky Way's spiral arms, in the second largest galaxy in our local group, about 50 million light years from the Virgo Cluster, embedded within the Laniakea supercluster. Well, you might have to add another line to that address, as Laniakia, along with dozens of other nearby giant clusters, is all embedded within a great cosmic void stretching a billion light years from end-to-end.
Cosmologically speaking, the Milky Way and its immediate neighborhood are in the boondocks. In a 2013 observational study, University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomer Amy Barger and her then-student Ryan Keenan showed that our galaxy, in the context of the large-scale structure of the universe, resides in an enormous void — a region of space containing far fewer galaxies, stars and planets than expected.
The Milky Way—and everything in it—exists in an enormous void in space that is largely lacking stars, galaxies and planets. This is according to new evidence presented by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who say our presence within one of these empty regions would help explain a lot of problems relating to astronomy—specifically, the rate at which the universe appears to be expanding.
In Wired: 'Cosmic void' theory suggests our universe is like Swiss cheese and we live in one of its holes
Further weight has been added to the theory that says our galactic neighbourhood is inside a void that happens to be seven times larger than the Universe's average.
In The International Business Times: On a cosmic real estate scale, Milky Way lies in a sparsely populated region
To think of the structure of the universe, and the distribution of matter within it, picture a chunk of Swiss cheese and its holes. Think of all the solid parts as all the invisible and unobservable dark matter and dark energy, while the holes — about 5 percent of the total — contain most visible matter. Add some veins between the holes, and those are like the filaments in space, making up the rest of the visible matter.
In The Daily Mail: The Milky Way exists in a giant hole of the universe that may have helped life on Earth to develop
Experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that our galaxy exists in one of the holes in the filament filled structure of the universe, which they compare to Swiss cheese.