New York, Feb 5: A team of scientists from 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 Jourl.
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.
“These small planets are the best candidate for the sigture we observed in this study using the microlensing technique. We alysed the high frequency of the sigture by modeling the data to determine the mass,” Dai said. The researchers made the discovery with data from SA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, a telescope in space that is controlled by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
While planets are often discovered within the Milky Way using microlensing, the gravitatiol effect of even small objects can create high magnification leading to a sigture that can be modeled and explained in extragalactic galaxies. (IANS)