Tuesday November 12, 2019
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Planets Beyond Milky Way Galaxy Discovered For First Time

The planet population, ranging from the size of the Moon to the size of Jupiter, were spotted in a galaxy located 3.8 billion light-years away, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal

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Until this study, there has been no evidence of planets in other galaxies. Wikimedia Commons
Until this study, there has been no evidence of planets in other galaxies. Wikimedia Commons

A team of scientists from the University of Oklahoma has discovered for the first time a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy.

The planet population, ranging from the size of the Moon to the size of Jupiter, were spotted in a galaxy located 3.8 billion light-years away, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

For the discovery, the team used a technique called microlensing — a method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth.

“We are very excited about this discovery. This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy,” said Professor Xinyu Dai.

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“These small planets are the best candidate for the signature we observed in this study using the microlensing technique. We analyzed the high frequency of the signature by modeling the data to determine the mass,” Dai said.

The researchers made the discovery with data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, a telescope in space that is controlled by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Wikimedia Commons
The researchers made the discovery with data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, a telescope in space that is controlled by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Wikimedia Commons

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.

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

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“This is an example of how powerful the techniques of analysis of extragalactic microlensing can be,” said postdoctoral researcher Eduardo Guerras.

“This galaxy is located 3.8 billion light-years away, and there is not the slightest chance of observing these planets directly, not even with the best telescope one can imagine in a science fiction scenario,” Guerras said.

“However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence and even have an idea of their masses. This is very cool science,” Guerras said. (IANS)

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NASA Plans to Send Mobile Robot on Moon to get view of Water Ice

The planned launch comes as the United States is going to send the first woman and next man to the moon in 2024 and to achieve a long-term sustainable presence on the moon

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NASA
Mobile Robot will roam multiple miles and use its 1-meter drill to sample various soil environments affected by light and temperature, including those in complete darkness, occasional light and in direct sunlight, according to NASA. Pixabay

The US space agency NASA is planning to send a mobile robot to the South Pole of the moon in 2022 to get a close-up view on the water ice in the region and sample it for the first time.

NASA announced on Friday that the golf-cart-size robot called Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, will collect about 100 days of data that will be used to inform the first global water resource maps of the moon, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It will roam multiple miles and use its 1-meter drill to sample various soil environments affected by light and temperature, including those in complete darkness, occasional light and in direct sunlight, according to NASA.

The planned launch comes as the United States is going to send the first woman and next man to the moon in 2024 and to achieve a long-term sustainable presence on the moon.

Water is a resource of direct value for humans that could provide oxygen to breathe and hydrogen and oxygen to fuel future landers and rockets.

NASA
NASA is planning to send a mobile robot to the South Pole of the moon in 2022 to get a close-up view on the water ice in the region and sample it for the first time. Pixabay

“Since the confirmation of lunar water-ice ten years ago, the question now is if the Moon could really contain the amount of resources we need to live off-world,” said Daniel Andrews, the project manager of the VIPER mission. “This rover will help us answer the many questions we have about where the water is, and how much there is for us to use.”

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Anthony Colaprete, VIPER’s project scientist said: “VIPER will tell us which locations have the highest concentrations and how deep below the surface to go to get access to water.” (IANS)