Other nearby galaxies are being gravitationally tugged in other directions. The new map of the local universe delineates the flow lines where the galaxies' paths diverge, establishing for the first time regions of space under the influence of particular super-clusters.
NEWS: 3-D Galaxy Map Reveals Cosmic Neighborhood
In addition to Laniakea, the local universe includes galaxy complexes Shapley, Hercules, Coma and Perseus-Pieces.
"We don't have the distance information to see the far sides of ... our (super-cluster) neighbors and we haven't seen far enough to understand what's causing this full motion of our galaxy," astronomer and lead researcher Brent Tully, with the University of Hawaii, told Discovery News.
"That's really the goal, to look out far enough -- probably three times farther than we are right now, probably requiring many thousands of more distance measurements, to map this larger region," he said.
Astronomer Elmo Tempel, with Tartu Observatory in Estonia, said he was surprised that the Milky Way's super-cluster wasn't found sooner.