A team of researchers with members of the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and Universidad Andres Bello has found evidence of a large extragalactic cluster hiding behind one part of the Milky Way. The group posted a paper describing their findings on a prepress server on arXiv while awaiting publication in the journal Astronomy and astrophysics.
Astronomers have known for some time that one part of the night sky is mostly hidden from view due to the bulge in the galaxy. Known as the “avoid zone,” it makes up roughly 10% of the dark sky and has left researchers wondering what might be behind it. Because it provides researchers with so little to work with, the area has not been well studied; Thus, little is known about what might be hiding. In this new effort, the researchers used a variety of tools to gain a better understanding of what might be hidden from view.
Over the past several years, scientists have used a variety of tools to explore the avoidance zone. In this new effort, the researchers began collecting all the data collected to date and adding more using information recently obtained from the VVV survey.
The VVV Survey is a project sponsored by an intergovernmental research organization called the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. It includes many state-of-the-art research facilities located in multiple locations. The survey participated in the study of the use of stars infrared emissions instead of visible light. Such emissions can pass through gas, dust, and light from stars in the bulge and into instruments created here on Earth.
in a study infrared imagesIn this study, the researchers found that they were able to identify many galaxies located outside the Milky Way. 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 Galdiano et al, unveiled a new structure behind the Milky Way, arXiv (2022). doi: 10.48550/arxiv.2210.16332
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