Galaxies Behind the Milky Way and the Great Attractor

  • Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 556)


Dust and stars in the plane of the Milky Way create a “Zone of Avoidance” in the extragalactic sky. Galaxies are distributed in gigantic labyrinth formations, filaments and great walls with occasional dense clusters. They can be traced all over the sky, except where the dust within our own galaxy becomes too thick - leaving about 25% of the extragalactic sky unaccounted for. Our Galaxy is a natural barrier which constrains the studies of large-scale structures in the Universe, the peculiar motion of our Local Group of galaxies and other streaming motions (cosmic flows) which are important for understanding formation processes in the Early Universe and for cosmological models.

Only in recent years have astronomers developed the techniques to peer through the disk and uncover the galaxy distribution in the Zone of Avoidance. I present the various observational multi-wavelength procedures (optical, far infrared, near infrared, radio and X-ray) that are currently being pursued to map the galaxy distribution behind our MilkyWay, including a discussion of the (different) limitations and selection effects of these (partly) complementary approaches. The newly unveiled large-scale structures are discussed and compared to predictions from theoretical reconstructions of the mass density field. Particular emphasis is given to discoveries in the Great Attractor region - a from streaming motions predicted huge overdensity centered behind the Galactic Plane. The recently unveiled massive rich cluster A3627 seems to constitute the previously unidentified core of the Great Attractor.


Spiral Galaxy Galaxy Cluster Peculiar Velocity Rich Cluster Great Attractor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de AstronomíaUniversidad de GuanajuatoGuanajuato GTOMexico

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