Astronomers have discovered hundreds of galaxies hidden only 250 million light years away — really not far from home at all.
Of course, there is some question as to how galaxies that are so close managed to stay hidden for so long. Turns out, our own Milky Way has been hiding them.
A study was published in the Astronomical Journal, detailing the discovery of the hundreds of galaxies and giving a better idea of where some of those suspected were hiding. Scientists did have suspicions that there was something lurking back there, but they didn't know exactly what. Some of the bright clusters of galaxies were already visible, however, another clue was that there was something pulling the Milky Way toward it — a phenomenon dubbed the "Great Attractor."
The reason it stayed hidden for so long is that our own galaxy has been blinding us. The Milky Way is a big cluster of light, gas, dust, stars and space. It all swirls together in a very bright circle. Light from other galaxies gets lost in the bright light that is surrounding us.
To get around this issue, researchers used a radio telescope to survey what they call the "Zone of Avoidance." Using this method, researchers mapped a whopping 883 galaxies, and 250 of those were previously unknown.
Check out the video below for a detailed explanation of what the researchers found.