A group of international scientists have recently uncovered hundreds of galaxies hiding behind Milky Way, which could finally provide an explanation for the gravitational anomaly called The Great Attractor.
Apparently, the deceiving galaxies which were hiding behind our own star cluster are located around 250 million years away from planet Earth. Mr. Lister Staveley-Smith, professor at the University of Western Australia, reveals that his team found around 883 galaxies, many of which had never been heard of before.
The Great Attractor has represented a source of fascination for scientists ever since they discovered a gravitational pull around the Milky Way in the 1970s and 1980s. It is said to be a region that draws in the Milky Way, along with hundreds of other galaxies, with a huge gravitational strength, of around 1 million billion Suns.
Our galaxy is said to be travelling towards it at a speed of two million kilometers per hour. According to Professor Staveley-Smith, also a member of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, there doesn’t seem to be an answer yet as to what is causing this gravitational acceleration.
The recent discovery was made using the famous CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope, which is located inside a sheep paddock and possesses a groundbreaking multibeam receiver. Using this device, the researchers were able to map the sky 13 times quicker than they normally would and to make discoveries at an accelerated pace.
A normal-sized galaxy can contain up to 100 billion stars, which means that this latest discovery paves the way to a multitude of new findings, which the scientists may not even be aware of.
The study was elaborated by scientists from Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands and the United States and it was published in the Astronomical Journal. According to Professor Kraan-Korteweg, Chair of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town, the discovery was made after several years of data collecting, so it did not happen overnight.
Through this analysis, the team was able to uncover a few new structures, including three galaxy concentrations (NW1, NW2, NW3) and two new clusters (CW1 and CW2). All of this could help us understand why there is this gravitational pull towards The Great Attractor and what are the consequences of it.
Even though researchers have tried to use a variety of techniques in the past in order to penetrate the dense layer of dust and stars inside the Milky Way, it was only through radio observations that they were able to succeed in this task.
Image Source: Fauxfu