Scientists discover planets beyond Milky Way for the first time

07 February, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Myrtle Cook
  • The lens galaxy at center and four lensed background quasars

The study was published on February 2 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Using data from a NASA X-ray laboratory in space, Xinyu Dai, an astrophysicist and professor at the University of Oklahoma, detected, for the first time ever, a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy.

While planets are often discovered within the Milky Way using microlensing, the gravitational effect of even small objects can create high magnification leading to a signature that can be modeled and explained in extragalactic galaxies. While some appear to be as small as our natural satellite, the Moon, there are some the size of Jupiter.

In an astonishing find, scientists have finally managed to discover planets beyond our Milky Way Galaxy. Directly viewing exoplanets within the Milky Way is almost impossible, so astrophysicists have to sift through data and use other detection techniques that give way to evidence of planet signatures. Today, a new step has been taken: a team of astrophysicists from the University of Oklahoma has announced the discovery of the first planets beyond our Galaxy. When a planet passes the star in relation to the observer, the light falls in a measurable way, which can then allow astronomers to determine the presence of a planet. Since 2014, the Kepler has continued to search for planets outside of Earth's solar system while coming across young stars, supernovae and "other cosmic phenomena". With quasar microlensing, they say it's possible to see extragalactic planets inside the lens galaxy based on the properties of emission near the event horizon of the supermassive black hole of the background quasar. "This is very cool science", he added.

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"This is an example of how powerful the techniques of analysis of extragalactic microlensing can be". According to the latest study, more than 2000 planets are revolving in a distant galaxy situated nearly 3.8 billion light-years away. But they were still able to use their calculations to estimate the number of planets and masses.

More than 2,000 planets were detected, majority wandering through space not orbiting a star or orbiting between several stars, National Geographic reported. According to them, they managed to find a group of planets in another galaxy, by using the microlensing mechanism.

"We won't have a chance to observe the exomoon candidate again", stated lead author David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame, in a 2014 statement.



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