The Hubble Group

So the big news today is that they’ve named the supercluster we live in:

Scientists previously placed the Milky Way in the Virgo Supercluster, but under Tully and colleagues’ definition, this region becomes just an appendage of the much larger Laniakea, which is 160 million parsecs (520 million light years) across and contains the mass of 100 million billion Suns.

Which kicked off this Twitter exchange between me and Lee Billings.

Accordingly, I propose that we rename the Local Group the Hubble Group, in honor of its namer, and making it consistent with the other names. I will henceforth call it that. If anyone asks, I’ll explain.

13 thoughts on “The Hubble Group”

  1. Many astronomers also say “other solar systems”, meaning that “solar system” is non-specific as well. I think you might as well go ahead and name our particular solar system too. Somebody has to do it, and it might as well be you.

      1. Before I commented, I tried “JPL” and “other solar systems”. I also tried variants, such as “”, “”, and “”. Try it with any university that has a significant extrasolar astronomy program. Tons of hits. Prescriptively, I agree with you. Descriptively, I think the ship has sailed.

        A further indication: While astronomers talk about “other Earths”, they never mean anything other than right here when they say “Earth”, but while astronomers talk about “other solar systems”, they are just as likely to refer to “solar systems” or “that solar system” and when they do so, they aren’t referring to, um, here, at all.

    1. Adding hydrogen fuel to the fire:

      “The Solar System has been traveling through the region currently occupied by the Local Bubble for the last five to ten million years.[4] Its current location lies in the Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC), a minor region of denser material within the Bubble. ”

      This might be of particular interest to someone interested in some version of the interstellar ramjet idea.

  2. Rand, I’m not sure about “solar system.” I’ve definitely heard that term used by astronomers in reference to other stellar systems (only without the definite article “the”). To be sure, sol is Latin for sun, which I would assume could be generically used for other stars, which would make “solar” a reasonable term to use in reference to other stellar systems. I don’t get the feeling this is all well-established, either.

    For that matter, formally referring to our star as Sol–is that official, or is that something used by science fiction authors and among astronomers for convenience?

    1. Sol is the official Latin name for our star. Terra is probably Latin for earth (and I hate chicklet laptop keyboards.)

  3. Hubble is already honored by naming the entire visible universe: the Hubble Bubble!

    The address could be extended further. At least we could help the cosmic mailman find us by pointing out that we are in the “Local Bubble” in the Orion Spur.

  4. After Hubble was convicted of billing fraud with the Rose Law Firm, and subsequently tied in with illegal activities with the Indonesians, even I, a newly-minted far Left Progressive, had to discount any of his new cosmological “discoveries.”

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