SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH: 2000 planets detected outside Milky Way Galaxy

07 February, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Planets beyond Milky Way discovered

But until this study, there has been no evidence of planets in other galaxies.

Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory, the researchers found that there were peculiar line energy shifts in the quasar's light that could only be explained by planets in the galaxy lensing the quasar. While some appear to be as small as our natural satellite, the Moon, there are some the size of Jupiter.

Priyamvada, Natrajan, a theoretical astrophysicist at Yale University said, "This discovery if the interpretation of the data holds up, looks very exciting indeed". "This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy", said Professor Xinyu Dai".

Gravitational microlensing refers to the phenomenon, predicted by Einstein, that gravity can bend light, resulting in an apparent magnification if the bodies are aligned the right way (from the point of view of the observer). "Quasar microlensing provides a means to probe extragalactic planets in the lens galaxy, by studying the microlensing properties of emission close to the event horizon of the supermassive black hole of the background quasar, using the current generation telescopes", the researchers also wrote in their study. This, in turn, helps the Astrophysicists to determine the mass of the planet.

The technique was first used to first identify planets outside of our Solar System but inside the galaxy, known as exoplanets. So instead, the researchers used a technique called "quasar microlensing". That may have just changed in a big way, as scientists are reporting the potential discovery of thousands of extragalactic planets.

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All of the exoplanets have been detected around the Milky Way, whose quantity proved that the planets are much common beyond the universe. Unlike Earth, most of the exoplanets are not tightly bound to stars, so they're actually wandering through space or loosely orbiting between stars.

HIP 13044 b, dubbed by a planet in 2010 was detected around 2,000 light years away from the Earth. In order to discover planets in a galaxy which is further away, scientists would have to use something stronger than the light of a single star.

'However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence and even have an idea of their masses. "If you have only one planet, the chances of observing it twice is astronomically small".

In a university news release, Guerras had a less formal way to describe the complicated process: "This is very cool science".

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