Seeking galaxies by gaslight
Astronomers at the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) at Parkes, NSW, have found a way to look through the interstellar dust that hinders our view of the Universe. A special radio wave 'receiver' enables radio waves emitted by hydrogen gas to be detected. These waves can penetrate the dust and starlight of the Milky Way, enabling astronomers to detect faint, small or distant galaxies which would otherwise remain hidden. So far the HIPASS (Hi Parkes All Sky Survey) has unveiled more than 600 new galaxies behind the Milky Way.