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Massive Superclusters Of Galaxies Found Near The Milky Way

First Posted: Dec 22, 2016 03:41 AM EST

The astronomers from the Australian National University (ANU) discovered superclusters of galaxies near the Milky Way. This could be one of the biggest superclusters of galaxies in the Milky Way known as Vela supercluster.

Professor Matthew Colless from ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics said that this supercluster was previously undetected because it was hidden by stars and dust in the Milky Way. The supercluster was a huge mass that impacts the motion of the Galaxy.

"This is one of the biggest concentrations of galaxies in the Universe---possibly the biggest in the neighborhood of our Galaxy, but that will need to be confirmed by further study." Prof. Colless further said that the gravity of the Vela supercluster may explain the difference between the measured motion of the Milky Way through space and the motion predicted from the distribution of previously mapped galaxies.

In the study, Professor Colless used the Anglo-Australian telescope to gauge the distances to many galaxies to determine that Vela was a supercluster. The team involving astronomers from Australia, South Africa and Europe also estimated the supercluster's effect on the motion of the Milky Way. There will be two new Australian surveys that will be conducted starting in 2017 that will confirm the size of the Vela supercluster, according to Phys.org.

See the imaging of Vela supercluster above. In the picture, the white/blue part is the Milky Way. Meanwhile, the central bulge on the left and the plane of the disk run horizontally across the area. The yellow/green parts are the distribution of galaxies in the universe. The Vela supercluster area runs across the Galactic plane, which is also shown in the Shapley supercluster, the other huge structure in the nearby universe, according to EurekAlert. 

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