A team of researchers with members from Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and Universidad Andres Bello found evidence of a large extragalactic cluster hiding behind part of the Milky Way galaxy. The team has posted a paper describing their findings on the arXiv preprint server pending publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Space scientists have known for some time that there is a part of the night sky that is mostly obscured from view due to a bulge in the galaxy. Known as the ‘avoidance zone’, it makes up about 10% of the dark sky and has led researchers to wonder what might be hiding behind it. Because it offers researchers so little to work with, the zone has not been studied very well. Thus, little is known about what it might be hiding. In this new effort, the researchers used a variety of tools to gain a better understanding of what might be hiding from view.
In recent years, scientists have used a variety of tools to investigate the avoidance zone. The researchers with this new effort started by collecting all the data collected so far and added more using information recently obtained from the VVV survey.
The VVV Survey is a project funded by an intergovernmental research organization called the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. It includes several state-of-the-art research facilities located in multiple locations. The research involved studying stars using infrared emissions rather than visible light. Such emissions can pass through the gas, dust and light from the stars to the bulge and instruments set up here on Earth.
By studying the infrared images, the researchers found that they were able to identify several galaxies that exist far beyond the Milky Way. And because of their numbers, researchers believe that together, they make up what they describe as a massive extragalactic structure. They estimate that there may be as many as 58 galaxies in the structure.
Daniela Galdeano et al, Revealing a new structure behind the Milky Way, arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2210.16332
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Reference: Huge extragalactic structure found hiding behind Milky Way (2022, November 8) retrieved November 8, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-huge-extragalactic-milky.html
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