NASA finds first planet ever outside our galaxy 1 month ago

NASA finds first planet ever outside our galaxy

The planet is located 28 million light-years away from our own galaxy

Scientists have found suggestions of what could be the first planet ever discovered outside of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Advertisement

The potential planet is about the size of Saturn, which for perspective is about nine times as big as the Earth, reports the BBC.

This new addition was discovered by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Telescope and is situated in the Messier 51 galaxy - which, yes, does just sound like a really badly organised galaxy.

Nasa The Chandra Telescope/Via NASA

The planet is located 28 million light-years away from our own galaxy and is one of nearly 5,000 "exoplanets" that have been found so far.

Exoplanets are essentially planets outside of our own galaxy, which are picked up through cosmic hints and subtle nods.

Advertisement

Telescopes pick up on so-called 'transits' which show potential planets moving in front of a star and blocking a portion of its light. Our high powered telescopes can pick up the characteristic dip in brightness here on Earth - hence why it's a common belief these are planetary bodies.

Dr Rosanne Di Stefano and her colleagues look for dips in the brightness of X-rays picked up by an object known as an X-Ray Bright Binary.

Nasa Our Galaxy/Via NASA

These objects usually contain a neutron star or black hole that sucks in gas from nearby orbiting stars. The space material near the mass becomes superheated as a result and glows at X-Ray wavelengths.

Advertisement

Planets that pass by this glowing mass of space gas are then picked up back on Earth.

"The method we developed and employed is the only presently implementable method to discover planetary systems in other galaxies," Dr Di Stefano told the BBC.

"It is a unique method, uniquely well-suited to finding planets around X-ray binaries at any distance from which we can measure a light curve."

Related links:

Advertisement