Science & Technology

First evidence of a planet that may be outside the Milky Way galaxy

Astronomers have found evidence of potential planetary candidates in the M51 (“Whirlpool Galaxy”) galaxy. This indicates that it may be the first planet detected outside the Milky Way. Chandra has detected a temporary dimming of X-rays from a system in which a giant star is in orbit around a neutron star or black hole (shown in the artist’s illustration). This dimming is interpreted as a planet that has passed in front of an X-ray source around a neutron star or black hole. Credit: NASA / CXC / M.Weiss

  • Astronomers have released evidence of a planet that may be in another galaxy.
  • this “ExoplanetIs farther than what thousands of other scientists have found in us Milky Way Galaxy in recent years.
  • Candidates for this planet were identified as follows: NASAChandra X-ray Observatory that detected the temporary dimming of X-rays in the star system.
  • Researchers interpret this dimming as a planet passing in front of an X-ray source. Neutron star Also Black Hole Orbiting the companion star.

Astronomers have found evidence of potential planetary candidates in the M51 (“Whirlpool Galaxy”) galaxy. This could represent the first planet to be seen passing through the stars outside the Milky Way. Researchers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to dimming X-rays from “X-ray binaries,” a system in which sun-like stars orbit around neutron stars or black holes. Was detected. The authors interpret this dimming as a planet passing in front of a neutron star or black hole.

With composite M51 label

The composite image of the M51, which includes X-rays from Chandra and optical light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, contains a box showing the location of potential planet candidates. Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / SAO / R. DiStefano, et al. Optics: NASA / ESA / STScI / Grendler

The left panel of this figure shows the M51 with X-rays (purple and blue) from Chandra and optical light from NASA. Hubble Space Telescope (Red, green, blue). The box shows the location of potential planets that may be X-ray binaries known as M51-ULS-1. The artist’s illustration on the right panel depicts an X-ray binary and possible planets. Companion star (white and blue in the figure) material is attracted to a neutron star or black hole, forming a disk around a dense object (shown in red and orange). Substances near dense objects overheat and glow with X-ray light (white). The planet has been shown to be beginning to pass in front of this X-ray source.

Possible orbits of the M51 planet

Possible orbits. Credit: NASA / CXC / M.Weiss

Finding the dimming of a star’s light as something passes in front of it is called a transit technique. For years, scientists have used optical telescope transits to discover exoplanets. It detects the range of light that humans can see with their eyes. This includes both ground-based telescopes and space telescopes such as NASA’s Kepler mission. These optical passage detections require a very high level of sensitivity because the planets are much smaller than the stars passing in front of them. Therefore, only a small part of the light is blocked.

M51-ULS-1 Light curve

This light curve shows how the X-rays from M51-ULS-1 temporarily decrease to zero during Chandra observations. Credits: NASA / CXC / SAO / R. DiStefano, et al.

X-ray binary transit scenarios are different. Potential planets are sized close to the X-ray source around a neutron star or black hole, so passing planets passing along the Earth’s line of sight can temporarily block most or all of the X-rays. There is sex. This allows you to find transits at longer distances, including distances across the Milky Way, than current optical research using transits. The figure (top) shows how the X-rays from M51-ULS-1 temporarily decrease to zero during Chandra observation.

This is an intriguing study, but the M51 exoplanet case is not an iron wall. One challenge is that the large orbits of planetary candidates at M51-ULS-1 will not intersect again in front of their binary partners for about 70 years, an attempt to confirm observations for decades. Is to stop. X-ray dimming may be due to a cloud of gas passing near M51-ULS-1, but researchers believe the data strongly support the planet’s description.

Reference: “Possibilities of Planetary Candidates for External Galaxy Detected by X-ray Transit” October 25, 2021 Nature Astronomy..
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A paper explaining these results appears in the latest issue of. Nature Astronomy.. The author is Rosanne Di Stefano (CfA), Julia Berndtsson (Princeton), Ryan Urquhart (Michigan State University), Roberto Soria (University of the Academy of Sciences of China), Vinay Kashap (CfA), Theron Carmichael (CfA), and Nia Imara (now Santa Cruz, University of California). NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center manages science in Cambridge, Massachusetts and flight operations in Burlington, Massachusetts.



First evidence of a planet that may be outside the Milky Way galaxy

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