NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory announced that astronomers could have found evidence for a possible planet outside of the Milky Way galaxy. The ‘exoplanet’ – M51 of the ‘Whilpool’ galaxy would be much farther away than any of the other found in the Milky Way.
The planet was identified by detection of temporary dimming X-rays in a binary system, the observatory reported. Researchers have interpreted the dimming as a planet passing in front of an X-ray source around a neutron or black hole orbiting a companion star.
Looking for the dimming of a star’s light as something passes in front of it is called the transit technique. For years, scientists have discovered exoplanets using transits with optical light telescopes, which detect the range of light humans can see with their eyes and more.
This includes both ground-based telescopes and space-based ones like NASA’s Kepler mission. These optical light transit detections require very high levels of sensitivity because the planet is much smaller than the star it passes in front of, and, therefore, only a tiny fraction of the light is blocked, explained the X-ray observatory.
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