Beyond the Dust

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Astronomers recently detected a massive extragalactic structure hiding in an uncharted region of space that has been obscured by the Milky Way galaxy, Futurism reported.

Known as the “zone of avoidance,” the region is considered a blank spot in our map of the universe, making up between 10 and 20 percent of the night sky. The area is well-hidden because of the stars and dust surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Previous attempts using visible-light telescopes to peer through the zone haven’t been successful.

But, scientists have had more success unraveling its secrets using telescopes that can detect infrared radiation – a sort of light that is invisible to the human eye but powerful enough to shine through dense clouds of gas and dust, according to Live Science.

In their paper, researchers explained that they used the European Southern Observatory’s VVV survey to examine the infrared light that makes it past the Milky Way’s obstructive bulge.

Their discoveries revealed that the extragalactic structure appeared to be a massive cluster of galaxies bound together by a common center of gravity.

Located roughly three billion light-years from Earth, this cluster is comprised of at least 58 galaxies bundled together in a tiny plot of the zone of avoidance.

The team explained that further investigation is needed to determine the exact size of the cluster, as such clusters can sometimes consist of thousands of galaxies bunched together.

Even so, the mere detection of this massive object suggests that the zone of avoidance may not be as impenetrable as previously thought.

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