It has recently been discovered that countless galaxies are hiding behind the Milky Way. Scientists were able to observe and study the nearby galaxies for the first time, and thus find more information on the gravitational anomaly of our own Milky Way, named the Great Attractor.
Scientists were able to analyze the galaxies by using the Parks radio telescope from CSIRO. Nicknamed “the Dish”, this telescope situated in New South Wales in Australia features a modern receiver that led them through the dust and stars of the Milky Way and enabled them to see beyond. It has 64 meters and has been functioning since 1961. Thus, astronomers managed to find an astonishing number of 883 galaxies, and one third of them have never been noticed before.
The study was led by Professor Lister Staveley-Smith from ICRAR’s (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) node of University of Western Australia. He was helped by an international team that includes members from the United States, the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa. Professor Staveley-Smith stated that even though our own galaxy is beautiful and fascinating to study, it blocks the view of others.
The new discovery might shed light on the Great Attractor, a gravitational force that pulls countless galaxies including our own with an immense force equal to that of one million billion Suns. Scientists have been trying to understand the Great Attractor since the 1970s and still do not have much information on it.
However, this gravitational force is drawing clusters of galaxies with a speed of over 2 million kilometers per hour. The newly discovered structures including two clusters titled CW1 and CW2 and three galaxy concentrations dubbed NW1, NW2 and NW3 might give an insight on the whole matter.
According to astronomer Professor Rene Kraan-Korteweg from the University of Cape Town, scientists have been attempting to map these galaxies for decades. In the end, the radio observations were the only way they could see through the clouds of stars and dust. CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science member Dr. Brbel Koribalski also added that they managed to achieve success thanks to the innovative Parks Radio telescope, with its 21-centimeter multibeam receiver that allowed them to scan the space thirteen times faster than before.
We have often believed that space has no boundaries and that there are many other planets somewhere in the distance. However, countless galaxies are hiding behind the Milky Way, just around the corner from our home.
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