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FILE - This 1986 file picture shows part of the Milky Way galaxy as seen from Australia. Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy and the numbers are astronomical: at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way. At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist, scientists announced Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope. (AP Photo)

The Milky Way galaxy is being pushed through space by a large unseen force

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A  large unseen force is pushing the Milky Way galaxy across the universe, according to new research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy

Researchers have always known the Milky Way is moving across the expanding universe at a relative speed of about 1.24 million miles per hour, according to the New York Post

Scientists initially thought our galaxy was simply being pulled through space, but now new research suggests it's also being pushed. 

For a long time, scientists have known the Milky Way galaxy is attracted to the Shapley Supercluster, which is essentially a large concentration of galaxies located 750 million light-years away, CNN reports

Still, astronomers weren't convinced this pull was the only factor influencing the Milky Way's movement. 

Researchers used data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to create a 3-D map of the universe in order to determine where the "push" was coming from. 

The Dipole Repeller

By doing so, Brent Tully, one of the authors of the study, and his colleagues identified the Dipole Repeller. 

The Dipole Repeller has the opposite effect of the Shapley Supercluster. 

Scientists said the Dipole Repeller is low in density so it pushes the Milky Way galaxy away from it, whereas, the Milky Way is pulled and attracted to the Shapley Supercluster because of its high density. 

Researchers told CNN they are hopeful this will increase our understanding of how the universe works. 

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