WE ARE NOT ALONE | Planets beyond Milky Way spotted

February 5, 2018 - 5:09 PM
NASA file photo

HOUSTON, TEXAS — A University of Oklahoma astrophysics team has discovered a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy.

Using microlensing — an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at great distances from the Earth — the researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter, according to a press release by the U.S. university.

Xinyu Dai, professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, with postdoctoral researcher Eduardo Guerras, made the discovery with data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

“We are very excited about this discovery,” said Dai. “These small planets are the best candidate for the signature we observed in this study using the microlensing technique.”

The university claimed that there has been no evidence of planets in other galaxies until this study.