Huge extragalactic structure found behind the Milky Way
A team of researchers with members of Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and Universidad Andres Bello has found evidence of a large extragalactic assemblage hiding behind part of the Milky Way Galaxy. The group has published a paper detailing their findings on the arXiv preprint server pending publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Space scientists have known for some time that there is a portion of the night sky that is largely obscured from view by a bulge in the galaxy. Known as the “avoidance zone,” it covers about 10% of the dark sky, and researchers wondered what could be behind it. Because it offers researchers so little to work with, the zone hasn’t been studied very well; so 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 may be obscured 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 tourist information survey.
The VVV Survey is a project sponsored by an intergovernmental research organization called the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. This involves several state-of-the-art research facilities at multiple locations. The research has been involved in studying the stars using infrared emissions rather than visible light. Such emissions can travel through the gas, dust and light from the stars in the bulge to instruments set up here on Earth.
when studying the infrared images, the researchers found that they could identify several galaxies that exist far beyond the Milky Way. And because of their number, the researchers believe that together they form a huge extragalactic structure. They estimate that there may be as many as 58 galaxies in the structure.
Daniela Galdeano et al, Unveiling a New Structure Behind the Milky Way, arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2210.16332
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