Through the thick fog of our own galaxy, astronomers have spotted an ultimate prize: one of the largest-known structures in the Universe, reports Science Alert.
The Cape Town team discovered a previously-unknown major concentration of galaxies in the constellation Vela, which they have dubbed the Vela supercluster.
Observations in 2012 with the refurbished spectrograph of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) confirmed that eight new clusters reside within the Vela area. Subsequent spectroscopic observations with the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Australia provided thousands of galaxy redshifts and revealed the vast extent of this new structure.
Prof Renée Kraan-Korteweg from the University of Cape Town, who led this study and has been investigating this region for more than a decade, said: “I could not believe such a major structure would pop up so prominently,” when she and her colleagues analysed the spectra of the new survey.
There is still much for the team to do however – further follow-up observations are needed to unveil the full extent, mass, and influence of the Vela supercluster.