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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
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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.

ALSO READ: Super-Earth? Planet Hunters Find Another ‘Earthy’ Planet in Our Galactic Neighborhood

“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.

ALSO READ: Astronomers find Evidence for 2 Newborn Planets, orbiting around a Young Star known as HD 163296

“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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China Launches Space Mission To The Unexplored Side of The Moon

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. 

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A moon is seen behind the construction site of China Zun in Beijing's central business area. VOA

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

China, Moon
A worker inspects a scale model of the moon rover for China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe, at a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China. VOA

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

cHINA, MOON
Back side of the moon

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

Also Read: China Starts Investigation After Scientists Claims To Edit Genes In Babies

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration. (VOA)