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It may not have Superman’s X-ray vision, but for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope currently in orbit, infrared will do nicely.
The space-based telescope was able to use its infrared eyes to look through a cosmic wall of interstellar dust and find some of the brightest galaxies ever observed. Obscured from the view of visible astronomy tools, the 31 galaxies sit about 11 billion light-years away behind a thick screen of insterstellar dust, the source of which remains a mystery.
One light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 5.8 trillion miles (9.4 trillion kilometers).
This image, an artist’s concept, shows what just one of the many dust-encapsulated galaxies found by Spitzer might appear like in the infrared. Researchers used Spitzer’s infrared-seeking multi-band imaging photometer in conjunction with ground-based observations to pin down the invisible galaxies.
Additional Spitzer observations found signs of silicate dust in 17 of the 31 galaxies, an ingredient for planet formation, researchers said. Since Spitzer’s observations reach back to a time when the universe was just three billion years old, the find marks the furthest back that silicate dust has ever been seen, and may shed light on how planetary systems evolved in galaxies, they added.
-- SPACE.com Staff
Originally posted by SpookyVince
No, not necessarily, since the dust lies probably just a few hundreds or thousands of light years away, while the galaxy is billions...
Ever tried to hide a whole house that's far away in the distance with just your hand between your eyes and it?