Astronomers spot first possible exoplanet outside our galaxy.

A possible Saturn-sized planet identified in the distant Whirlpool Galaxy could be the first exoplanet to be detected outside the Milky Way.

The exoplanet candidate appears to be orbiting an X-ray binary – made up of a normal star and a collapsed star or black hole – with its distance from this binary roughly equivalent to the distance of Uranus from the sun.

The discovery opens up a new window to search for exoplanets – planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun – at greater distances than ever before. Although nearly 5,000 exoplanets have been detected so far, all of them are in the Milky Way galaxy – with few further than about 3,000 light years from Earth.

An exoplanet in the spiral Messier 51 (M51) galaxy – also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive shape – would be about 28m light years away.

Source: www.theguardian.com


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