Large-Scale Structures behind the Milky Way from Near-IR Surveys
About 25% of the optical extragalactic sky is obscured by the dust and stars of our Milky Way. Dynamically important structures might still lie hidden in this zone. Various approaches are presently being employed to uncover the galaxy distribution in the Zone of Avoidance (ZOA) but all suffer from (different) limitations and selection effects.
We investigated the potential of using the DENIS NIR survey for studies of galaxies behind the obscuration layer of our Milky Way and for mapping the Galactic extinction. As a pilot study, we recovered DENIS I c , J and K s band images of heavily obscured but optically still visible galaxies. We determined the I c , J and K s band luminosity functions of galaxies on three DENIS strips that cross the center of the nearby, low-latitude, rich cluster Abell 3627. The extinction-corrected I — J and J — K colours of these cluster galaxies compare well with that of an unobscured cluster. We searched for and identified galaxies at latitudes where the Milky Way remains fully opaque (|b| < 5° and A B ≳ 4 – 5m) — in a systematic search as well as around positions of galaxies detected with the blind H i-survey of the ZOA currently conducted with the Multibeam Receiver of the Parkes Radiotelescope.
KeywordsSpiral Galaxy Cluster Galaxy Luminosity Function Rich Cluster Optical Survey
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