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Friday, December 9, 2022

NASA Announces Discovery Of Signs Indicating First Planet Outside Milky Way Galaxy

The Chandra X-ray telescope, operated by NASA, has uncovered evidence of what might be the first planet identified beyond our Milky Way galaxy. The probable signal was identified in the Messier 51 galaxy, which is around 28 million light-years from Earth.

The Chandra Observatory was built to detect X-ray emissions from very hot locations like as exploding stars, galaxy clusters, and materials surrounding black holes. It recently observed a typical brightness decrease that occurs when a planet passes in front of a star, blocking part of its light. Thousands of “exoplanets” – worlds circling stars beyond the Sun — have been discovered using this approach.

Dr. Rosanne Di Stefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge and her colleagues led the study. According to a news release, the scientists used ground- and space-based telescopes to check for “dips in optical light, electromagnetic radiation humans can see, enabling the finding of millions of planets.”

A transiting planet travelling over Earth’s line of sight might momentarily block most or all of the X-rays since a possible planet is near in size to the X-ray source orbiting the neutron star or black hole. The transit lasted around three hours in the most recent observation, during which time the X-ray emission dropped to zero. As a result, the scientists anticipate that the candidate planet will be about Saturn’s size.

Dr. Di Stefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US, told reporters, “The approach we created and deployed is the only currently implementable way to detect planetary systems in other galaxies.”

The researchers concede that what they discovered may be a planet, but that additional data and investigation is needed to be certain. The fact that the candidate planet has a large orbit presents a problem. It signifies that after 70 years, the item will cross its binary mate again. Clouds of gas and dust might also be to blame for the decrease in brightness. This possibility was investigated by the researchers, but they found that it was implausible because other criteria do not fit such an occurrence.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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