Technology Thousands of Planets Outside of our Galaxy Found for the First Time

00:55  06 february  2018
00:55  06 february  2018 Source:   seeker.com

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In the 26 years since we first located planets outside the Solar System, we've found some using the “Doppler wobble” method around nearby stars, including the nearest. We use the gravitational lens formed by giant galaxies to study objects that would otherwise be beyond the reach of our telescopes.

For the first time in the history of astronomy, scientists have observed planets “living” outside the Milky Way. “We are very pleased with this discovery, for the first time someone discovered planets outside our galaxy ,” Dai admits.

a star in the background © University of Oklahoma

Using a technique called microlensing, astronomers detected 2,000 planets beyond the Milky Way, ranging in sizes as small as Earth's moon and as big as Jupiter.

Astronomers just found the first possible planets ever seen outside of the Milky Way, which is the galaxy in which Earth and our solar system reside.

This marks a new milestone in planet-searching. Scientists have already found more than 3,700 planets in our own galaxy through observatories such as the prolific planet-hunting Kepler space telescope. But, using a rare technique researchers identified planets that are much further away.

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This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy . The galaxy in which the planets are found is roughly 3.8 billion light years away. Until this study, there has been no evidence of planets in other galaxies .

This is the first multi- planet system discovered entirely through crowdsourcing. There are thousands of planets around other stars in our galaxy and very likely around other stars in other galaxies within the Universe. Multi- planet System Found Through Crowdsourcing.

Usually astronomers find planets through one of two ways: watching a planet dim the light of a star as it passes across the star — the transit method — or watching a star wobble due to planets orbiting around it — the radial velocity method.

The planets outside of our galaxy were instead found using a technique called microlensing, which involves two moving stars or objects aligning from the vantage point of Earth. The objects' gravitational interactions focus the light of the planet, making the planet briefly brighter and more visible.

"Microlensing is the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth," the Planetary Society said in a statement. Radial velocity searches generally only work for planets that are very close to us, at up to 100 light-years away. But microlensing "can find planets orbiting stars near the center of the galaxy, thousands of light-years away," the society added.

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First , despite the discovery of thousands of extra-solar planets , the solar system is still the only one that we have studied deeply. NASA's Kepler spacecraft began hunting for planets outside our solar system on May 12, 2009. Cosmic census finds crowd of planets in our galaxy .

Galaxy may be full of 'Earths,' alien life Analysis: Thousands of intelligent civilizations may have emerged in the Milky Way NASA's Kepler mission to search for habitable planets in our corner of the galaxy time , they probably would be be separated by tens of thousands of light years, Forgan said.

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Turns out the search also works for planets outside of our galaxy. Oklahoma University astronomers Xinyu Dai and Eduardo Guerras found the planets using a quasar — a bright object powered by a huge black hole — roughly 6 billion light-years away from Earth, called RX J1131-1231.

Astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to probe for planets in a galaxy a little closer to us — roughly 3.8 billion light-years away — using microlensing from the quasar. The result was astounding. The quasar's light revealed 2,000 unbound planets moving between the galaxy's stars. These planets range in size from Earth's moon to the planet Jupiter.

"This is an example of how powerful the techniques of analysis of extragalactic microlensing can be. This galaxy is located 3.8 billion light years away, and 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," said Guerras in a statement. "However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence, and even have an idea of their masses. This is very cool science."

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This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy ," Dai said. Of course, we haven't seen the planets directly, and are unlikely to in the lifetime of anyone alive today.

In our galaxy alone, surely, there must be billions! First , despite the discovery of thousands of extra-solar planets , the Solar System is still the only one that we have studied deeply. Taken together, the stars observed by Kepler make up about 70% of those found within the Milky Way.

The study was published in journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, and it's not the first time gravitational microlensing uncovered an interesting object.

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Back in 2014, a chance alignment between two stars revealed a possible exomoon — a moon orbiting an exoplanet. Astronomers said the system, called MOA-2011-BLG-262, is either a planet and a moon, or a star and a planet.

Unfortunately, astronomers can't do follow-up observations and confirm if the exomoon really existed. This microlensing came from a chance alignment between two stars that won't be repeated. But if it was an exomoon, it was the first one ever discovered.

"We won't have a chance to observe the exomoon candidate again," stated lead author David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame, in a 2014 statement. "But," he added, "we can expect more unexpected finds like this."


Kepler Helps Find 95 New Exoplanets .
About 3,600 exoplanets are known to exist outside our solar system now, most of them thanks to Kepler. Some planets have also been discovered recently outside our home galaxy, the Milky Way. About 3,600 exoplanets are known to exist outside our solar system now, most of them thanks to Kepler. Some planets have also been discovered recently outside the Milky Way.An international team of researchers made the discovery while analyzing 275 potential exoplanet candidates that showed up in the Kepler data during the spacecraft’s second mission, called K2.

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