Astronomers have discovered an intriguing structure behind our galaxy, the Milky Way – Enseñame de Ciencia

Astronomers discover a strange structure in the Milky Way.

We know perfectly well that the galaxy we inhabit is a gigantic object approximately 105,000 light-years in diameter, which is home to between 200 and 300 billion stars. As expected, due to the magnitude, there may be places in it that we are partially or totally unaware of, an example of this is the so-called ‘Empty Zone’ that lies behind the Milky Way and has just been discovered.

For many years, this ‘ghost region’, which makes up 10 to 20% of the entire night sky, has been a complete and complete mystery to astronomers, because the mass of stars accumulating in the center of the Milky Way obstructs completely the vision towards that area, as if it were a huge brick wall.

Until now, the great wall has not been observed, so there was little or no information about this mysterious place in the universe. Fortunately science and technology progress, instruments improve and we can see things that were previously thought impossible. As has happened throughout the history of science, technology and ingenuity have come together to exceed the limits of our understanding.

An international team of scientists, led by Daniela Galdeano, who belongs to the University of San Juan in Argentina, managed to look at the ‘Empty Zone’, finally managed to spy on the mysteries that this enigmatic portion of the universe holds.

What they discovered there has left the entire scientific community with the willies. An unusual structure was found with several dozen individual galaxies linked together by a common center of gravity.

We are talking about a never-before-seen swarm of 58 galaxies some 3,000 million light-years from Earth, which fortunately has been discovered thanks to new technologies that work in infrared and allow distant objects to be scrutinized, even if they are hidden from our eyes.

How was the discovery made?

We know that the center of the Milky Way is an incredibly dense region, filled with stars and clouds of dust and gas that make it impossible to see directly. Thanks to the new instruments that capture infrared radiation instead of visible light, they can take care of this work since infrared light has much longer wavelengths and less energy than visible light, a characteristic that allows it to pass through matter, like dust and gas that gets in your way.

Telescopes take advantage of this ability and store the information in infrared, to later go through a wave guide and mix it with laser light, which gives us images in visible light.

Definitely there is still a lot in the universe to discover, but the current technological development gives us a glimpse that we are on a very good path. This is a great sample. It is hoped that the next observations will collect the necessary information to know exactly what the new discovery is about.

The findings are in a paper published on the preprint site ArXiv will be published shortly in ‘Astronomy and Astrophysics’.

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