Whenever we think we’ve managed to unravel a bit more about the mysteries of the Universe, we kind of always tend to be proven wrong; not necessarily in what we found out, but in our assumption that we now know more than we did before. According to some new findings from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, the Milky Way had hundreds of galaxies hidden behind it.
Galaxies playing hide and seek
With the help of the Parkes Telescope, also referred to affectionately as ‘The Dish’, a team of researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research managed to finally confirm a theory that has been circulating for a while.
According to the study co-author, Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, the discovery wasn’t that surprising given the fact that the starts and the space dust in our galaxy is blocking most of our view in that direction.
By adding a new device called a multibeam receiver (how sci-fi is that?) to the Parkes telescope, the team became able to survey the night sky at speeds 13 times faster than the 64 meter wide, 55 year old telescope previously could.
What the team found was a huge gathering of 883 galaxies situated surprisingly close to our own, at about 250 million light years away. But that’s not the most interesting part. The most interesting part is that they are located in the zone of the Great Attractor, about which I’ll be talking in a bit.
The Great Attractor
Decades back, the scientific community observed that our galaxy and pretty much anything around it were headed towards a blank area of space at neck breaking speeds of 14 million miles per hour. The only thing they managed to determine, however, was that the expansion of the Universe wasn’t responsible for this.
Instead, they lay the blame on something called the Great Attractor, a blank region of space which by all accounts should contain nothing that could pull us in so unbelievably fast, as fast as the force of a million billion suns.
With their recent observations, the team determined that these galaxies are situated in that particular region of space, but they can’t really determine why the huge density of galaxies is present there. Similarly, they managed to ascertain that the cluster isn’t responsible for us being pulled in, but they still can’t know the reason.
The team is planning on using other newly updated devices in order to better understand the phenomenon.
Image source: Wikimedia