The planet was found outside the Milky Way for the first time


The discovery of planets outside the solar system has never been news. However, the exoplanet M51-ULS-1b is an exception. This is the first exoplanet found outside our Milky Way in our home galaxy.

It was observed in the vortex galaxy about 31 million light-years away.

Scientists at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered the planet in a galaxy in the constellation of Hounds, combining thousands of observations from the galaxy.

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With their help Rosanne Di Stefanon led group observed a surprising momentary attenuation in X-rays emitted by the M51-ULS-1 double star located in the galaxy.

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The best explanation for the observations is the planet that passed in front of the binary star, which was named M51-ULS-1b after the star. The planet is estimated to be on the order of Saturn and orbit the twin stars tens of times farther than the Earth Sun.

The two-star system comes with a small neutron star or black hole as well as a giant star.

Indeed, Di Stefano’s group focused on such X-ray-emitting binary stars in search of exoplanets in other galaxies.

“Of course, we didn’t know if such binary stars usually have planets around them,” Di Stefano commented On the Science Alert website.

The finding now is preliminary and is not expected to be confirmed, at least soon.

M51-ULS-1-1b orbits its double star so far that it will probably be tens or hundreds of years before the next overtake. Confirmed observation would require several similar, regularly recurring radiation attenuations.

The most natural way to get confirmation of the observation would be to find more similar X-ray attenuations in both the Milky Way and our nearby galaxies. In this way, the way to identify exoplanets would be confirmed.

“The study presents a new possible way to detect planets from systems with X-ray sources,” the researchers wrote in their article.

“Because powerful sources of X-rays can also be detected in other galaxies, the search for exoplanets can be extended beyond the Milky Way.”

The observation was published in a scientific journal Nature Astronomy.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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