One of the universe’s biggest superclusters of galaxies near the Milky Way founded by an international team of astronomers.
“The Vela supercluster, which had previously gone undetected as it was hidden by stars and dust in the Milky Way, was a huge mass that influenced the motion of our galaxy,” researchers, including those astronomers from Australian National University (ANU), said.
“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,” professor Matthew Colless from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said.
“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,” Colless said.
To measure distances for many galaxies to confirm earlier predictions that Vela was a supercluster, Colless used the Anglo-Australian Telescope. He also helped to estimate the supercluster’s effect on the motion of the Milky Way.
The research involved astronomers based in South Africa, Australia and Europe. Two new Australian surveys starting in 2017 will confirm the size of the Vela supercluster.
“The Taipan optical survey will measure galaxy distances over a bigger area around Vela, while the WALLABY radio survey will be able to peer through the densest parts of the Milky Way into the supercluster’s heart,” said Colless.
‘The research was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.’