Hidden Galaxies Come to Light

Scientists discover star systems obscured by quasars
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2007 12:15 PM CDT
Quasars, as illustrated her in this artist's conception, far outshine a number of "hidden" galaxies, making them difficult to detect.   (nasa.gov)
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(Newser) – Astronomers have added 14 “invisible galaxies” to their map of the heavens, thanks to an imaginative breakthrough and a massive telescope. Researchers realized that some galaxies might be hidden by the bright lights of quasars behind them, so they scanned quasar data for “dips” where those lights might be passing through galaxies, Space.com reports.

Quasars are small, extremely bright cosmic beacons that outshine galaxies. Using infrared technology, scientists found galaxies in 70% of the irregularities their research turned up. Even more exciting, many were “starburst galaxies,” which are actively creating about 20 suns per year. The team foresees its findings sparking a new wave of galaxy hunters.