Celestial boondocks: Study supports the idea that we live in a void

Cosmologically speaking, the Milky Way and its immediate neighborhood are in the boondocks.

In a 2013 observational study, Ryan Keenan, a postdoctoral researcher at Academia Sinica in Taiwan and a UW–Madison alumnus, and his former UW advisor, astronomer Amy Barger, 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.

Now, a new study by a UW–Madison undergraduate, also a student of Barger’s, not only firms up the idea that we exist in one of the holes of the Swiss cheese structure of the cosmos, but helps ease the apparent disagreement or tension between different measurements of the Hubble Constant, the unit cosmologists use to describe the rate at which the universe is expanding today.

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