The Chandra space telescope, which is 28 million light-years from Earth, was the first to find signals of a planet outside the Milky Way galaxy.
Scientists led by Roseanne Di Stefano of the Harvard and Smithsonian Astrophysics Center in Massachusetts tracked a binary system in the M51 galaxy that includes a black hole or neutron star orbiting a 20-times-mass star.
The telescope identified a three-hour period of zero X-ray emission from the binary system’s direction, and their conclusion, published today in the journal Astronomical Nature, is that they are indicators of an extrasolar planet that shrouded the star. Scientists were able to estimate the size of the candidate planet based on additional data.
So far, all of the solar alien planets have been discovered outside of the solar system, but inside the Milky Way, with the majority of them being up to 3,000 light-years away from Earth. More data is needed to determine if this is a galactic extraterrestrial world, according to Di Stefano and colleagues, but the planet’s next transfer to the other planet is only predicted in roughly seventy years.
Despite this, scientists are optimistic that this will be a watershed moment in the research of extrasolar planets.
“We’re attempting to open up a new field for discovering other worlds by searching for candidates for planets using longitudinal X-ray waves, an approach that permits them to be detected in other galaxies,” Di Stefano said.