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Planets Outside Milky Way Discovered for the First Time

Image: Planets Outside Milky Way Discovered for the First Time

Image of the gravitational lens RX J1131-1231 galaxy with the lens galaxy at the center and four lensed background quasars. It is estimated that there are trillions of planets in the center elliptical galaxy in this image. (University of Oklahoma)

By    |   Monday, 05 February 2018 05:42 PM

Scientists have discovered planets outside the Milky Way galaxy for the first time using a microlensing technique that detects the gravitational signature of very distant planets. 

More than 2,000 planets were detected, most of them wandering through space not orbiting a star or orbiting between several stars, National Geographic reported. The planets are various sizes, some as small as Earth's moon and some as large as Jupiter.

From the number of planets observed, scientists estimate more than a trillion planets may exist beyond our galaxy.

The planets were observed using telescopes from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has been in space since 1999, by astrophysicists from the University of Oklahoma. Their findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 

The newly discovered planets are about 3.8 billion light-years away. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles.

“We are very excited about this discovery. This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy,” Oklahoma University professor Xinyu Dai said in a news release.

Fellow researcher Eduardo Guerras praised the success of the microlensing technique, saying, “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. However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence and even have an idea of their masses.”

Guerras called the study “cool science.” 

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For the first time, scientists have discovered planets outside the Milky Way galaxy. They used a microlensing technique that detects the gravitational signature of very distant planets.
planets, outside, milky way
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2018-42-05
Monday, 05 February 2018 05:42 PM
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