Scientists have announced the discovery of hundreds of new, previously unseen galaxies tucked discreetly in a glaring region beyond our Milky Way. This cosmic cache of hidden galaxies lying just 250 million light-years from Earth was found by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia, publishing their survey findings in a detailed new report in the Astronomical Journal this week. Astronomers mapped out 883 of these new neighbors and pinpointed other older galaxies in the vicinity behind our spiral galaxy that had been theorized for decades due to a phenomenon known as the “Great Attractor,” a tremendous gravitational tug on the Milky Way by hidden forces.
Scientists estimate that a third of the 883 galaxies found had been unknown and uncataloged until now. The reason for this lack of clarity is due to the fact that the Milky Way’s swirl of interstellar dust, stars, nebulae and gas clouds allows us to see outward into our vicinity but not beyond ourselves. Much of the light emanating from these newfound dazzlers gets lost in the brilliance of our own minor significance. Researchers providing the study used a new type of receiver and telescope specifically designed to hunt through the clutter in this “Zone of Avoidance” to track down this new treasure of obscured galaxies.
The complete study in the Astronomical Journal can be reviewed here.