Astronomers discover extragalactic planets billions of light years from us

The discovery of new exoplanets - that is, planets beyond the solar system - rarely causes awe today, doesn't it? However, until now, all the worlds (and possible candidates) had been found here in the Milky Way itself. So far.

According to Chelsea Gohd of Futurism, for the first time in history, astronomers have been able to identify extragalactic planets in other galaxies. And the discovery of these worlds has been a real scientific feat, as they lie at an unbelievable 3.8 billion light-years from us - a distance that currently available technology cannot "see." Are you curious about how then scientists did to find these exoplanets?

Testing limits

According to Chelsea, astronomers have used a technique called gravitational microlensing - an astronomical effect that consists of "distorting the appearance of an object by a source of gravity between it and an observer." In other words, this phenomenon occurs when a star's gravitational field distorts the light passing through it - and when that body is aligned between the light source and the Earth, the effect “produces” images that can be detected here from the light. our planet.

Extragalactic Planets

For the first time in history (National Geographic / University of Oklahoma)

In fact, this technique had previously been used to identify distant objects, but all were observed within the Milky Way - which, for reference only, is about 100, 000 light-years across. Now, the team responsible for the discovery of the extragalactic planets has decided to test the limits of the use of gravitational microlensing and the results have been (obviously) very positive.

Extragalactic Planets

Discovery achieved through the use of gravitational microlensing (Sci-News / University of Oklahoma)

According to Mike Wehmer of the BGR website, astronomers were able to identify about 2, 000 explets using the technique and even estimate its dimensions. They calculated that the worlds range in size from our moon to Jupiter's, and were finally able to confirm what was long suspected, that our galaxy is not the only one in the universe that houses planets.

In addition, astronomers have been able to prove that the gravitational microlens can be used to "see" far beyond the Milky Way and that it can potentially be used to unravel many other mysteries of the cosmos.