Scientists Unmask Hundreds Of Galaxies Shrouded In The Milky Way’s Dust

Astronomers have peered through of the fog of the Milky Way to discover hundreds of previously hidden galaxies.

The dust and stars of our Milky Way had obstructed the view of these galaxies from Earth. Scientists knew of cosmic objects in the region, but our inability to observe them with optical telescopes led to the area becoming known as the Zone of Avoidance.

Using radio telescope technology capable of passing through the Milky Way, researchers at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research located 883 galaxies — a third of which had never been seen before. And they’re just 250 million light years from Earth, which is pretty close, astronomically speaking.

“The Milky Way is very beautiful, of course, and it’s very interesting to study our own galaxy, but it completely blocks out the view of the more distant galaxies behind it,” said lead researcher Lister Staveley-Smith, from The University of Western Australia.

Researchers hope that the discovery will help explain what’s known as the Great Attractor region, an area “which appears to be drawing the Milky Way and hundreds of thousands of other galaxies towards it with a gravitational force equivalent to a million billion Suns,” they said in a statement.

Scientists from Australia, South Africa, the U.S. and the Netherlands contributed to the findings, published Tuesday in the Astronomical Journal.

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