American astronomers have come up with new evidence for the existence of the first planet outside our galaxy. So far, about five thousand so-called exoplanets have been found, that is, planets that are orbiting a star other than the Sun. Each of these previously discovered bodies is located in the spiral Milky Way galaxy, emphasizes the British station BBC.
The new planet, initially estimated to be the size of Saturn, is the first planet outside the Milky Way. This vortex is located in a galaxy known as Messier 51 or M51, which was discovered by Charles Messier in 1773. It is about 28 million light years away from the Milky Way.
Dr. Rosanne de Stephen of the Harvard-Smithson Center for Astrophysics and her colleagues are behind the new discovery. In their experiment, the US team used the Chandra X-ray X-ray Observatory. One of NASA’s biggest projects, this X-ray telescope was built in 1999 by the American company TRW Space and Electronics Group.
Astronomers used the so-called transit method to find the planet. This method involves detecting planets by observing the regular colors of stellar brightness. According to experts, they occur when the exoplanet passes its star in orbit at an angle of view from Earth. The transit method is proving to be the most suitable and successful for the identification of new cosmic objects, and scientists have been using it for a long time.
“The method we have developed and used is the only possible way to search for planets in other galaxies,” British media quoted Stephen as saying.
What do we know about the new planet?
The passage of the planet against the background of a neutron star took about 3 hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero. Using this and other data, the US team found that the new object is the size of Saturn, the second largest planet in the Solar System. The new planet also orbits a neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.
However, the astronomers acknowledge that they will have to conduct further experiments to verify their own findings. One of the main problems is that the potential planet has a large orbit, which means it will pass in front of its binary star at the earliest in 70 years.
“To confirm that it is a planet, we will probably have to wait decades before we see another transit.” he says Project co-author Nia Imara of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Therefore, it will not be possible to conduct further research in the near future, say the scientists. The US team expects other astronomers to join the new research as well. “We know this is a bold statement, so we expect other astronomers to watch it very carefully,” said Julia Berndson of Princeton University in New Jersey.
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