Astronomers have used radio waves to peer through the galactic mass and stardust of the Milky Way, and in so doing, have discovered hundreds of nearby galaxies previously hidden from view.
Some 883 galaxies – a third of which had never been seen before – were observed by scientists using the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in Australia. While the former ‘hidden galaxies’ are located about 250 million light-years away from Earth, their comparative closeness in astronomical terms effectively means our own local neighbourhood of space just got a whole lot more crowded.
“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 astronomer Lister Staveley-Smith of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at the University of Western Australia.
The new-found galaxies lie within an area known as the Zone of Avoidance, so called because our view of this region of space has always been obstructed by the planets and stars that make up the Milky Way. Astronomers have been trying to map the galactic distribution there for decades without success, but thanks to the Parkes radio telescope’s receiver, that’s no longer the case. Source: Scientists have discovered hundreds of nearby galaxies that were hidden by the Milky Way