Huge extragalactic structure found hidden behind the Milky Way

Huge extragalactic structure found hidden behind the Milky Way
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Enorme estructura extragaláctica encontrada escondida detrás de la Vía Láctea

False color Z (blue), J (green) and Ks (red) image of a region corresponding to the candidate galaxy group/cluster. The dashed red circle delimits the central area with a radius of six minutes of arc, the green lines indicate the two positions of the long slit, and the red squares show the five galaxies observed with F2. In the right panels, we zoom in on the 58 galaxy candidates within the surveyed area. The length of each side of the box is 20 seconds of arc. credit: arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2210.16332

A team of researchers with members from the National University of San Juan, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Andres Bello University has found evidence of a large extragalactic assembly hidden behind a part of the Milky Way galaxy. The group has posted a paper describing their findings on the arXiv preprint server while awaiting publication in the journal. astronomy and astrophysics.

Space scientists have known for some time that there is a part of the night sky that is mostly hidden 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 researchers wondering what might be behind it. Because it offers researchers so little to work with, the area has not been very well studied; therefore, little is known about what he 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.

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 that has been collected so far and added 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 involves multiple state-of-the-art research facilities located at multiple sites. The survey has been involved in the study of the stars using infrared emissions rather than visible light. Such emissions can pass through gas, dust, and starlight in the bulge and onto instruments installed here on Earth.

By 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 what they describe as a massive extragalactic structure. They estimate that there could be as many as 58 galaxies in the structure.

More information:
Daniela Galdeano et al, Revealing a new structure behind the Milky Way, arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2210.16332

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