A number of many years in the past, scientists weren’t positive there have been any planets exterior of the 9 (or eight) orbiting the solar. Quick ahead to as we speak, and so they have now catalogued virtually 5,000 planets residing in different star techniques.
They could have yet one more so as to add to the checklist, but it surely’s a giant one: In a new study that was printed in Nature Astronomy on Monday, researchers stated they might have discovered the primary planet detected in one other galaxy.
“We all know we’re making an thrilling and daring declare so we count on that different astronomers will take a look at it very fastidiously,” research co-author Julia Berndtsson of Princeton College said in a statement. “We predict we’ve a robust argument, and this course of is how science works.”
The planet appears to be like to be the dimensions of Saturn, and is positioned within the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (additionally known as the Whirlpool Galaxy), 28 million light-years away. Referred to as M51-ULS-1 for now, it appears to be orbiting a star 20 instances extra huge than the solar, and is in shut proximity to a black gap or neutron star present in the identical system.
It’s inconceivable to truly see a planet that far-off. For this discovery, the researchers turned to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, an area telescope that may discover dips and peaks in X-rays emitted by distant objects. X-rays glow off of fabric that’s been superheated by objects like black holes or neutron stars. However when a planet passes in entrance of that glow like M51-ULS-1 did, it mainly blocks off all of the X-rays from being detected by Chandra.
Extra observations are wanted to substantiate the planet really exists, however that presents an enormous downside itself, as a result of present calculations predict the planet has a 70-year orbit round its star. Meaning scientists need to probably wait many years earlier than they will see M51-ULS-1 blocking that X-ray glow once more, thus proving it’s the actual deal.
On the plus facet, these new findings imply there’s a probably new methodology to seek for different planets exterior the Milky Method galaxy. Berndtsson and her group have already got their sights set on scouring Chandra information for 20 different galaxies to hunt for brand spanking new planets. They’re not losing any time.