Astronomers may have found the first known planet outside of the Milky Way, 28,000,000 light-years away from Earth.

Experts using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory (NASA) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Telescope (ESA) may have found the planet in the spiral galaxy Messier 51, also known as the Whirlpool galaxies.

All of the exoplanets (more than 4,000) that have been discovered have been found in our Milky Way. The majority are less than 3000 light-years from Earth.

NASA stated that if this planet is confirmed, it would be ‘thousands upon thousands of times farther away’ than the Milky Way.

Astronomers nay have found the first planet outside the Milky Way

Astronomers deny that they have discovered the first planet other than the Milky Way

The potential planet may reside in the spiral galaxy Messier 51, 28 million light-years away from Earth

The potential planet could be located in the spiral galaxy Messier51, 28 million light years from Earth

Rosanne Di Stefano from Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics stated that they are trying to create a new avenue for finding other planets by searching for candidates for planets at Xray wavelengths. This strategy will make it possible to find them elsewhere in the galaxy.

The transit method that used the passage of a celestial body in front of a star to confirm its existence was used to locate the potential planet.

This method examines dips in Xrays, not the light from the star as the planet passes before it.

The Xrays are produced by Xray bright binaries. These usually have a neutron star, black hole pulling gas, and a companion star. NASA said that any material close to a neutron star or blackhole ‘becomes extremely heated’ and glows in Xrays.

 ‘X-ray binaries may be ideal places to search for planets, because, although they are a million times brighter than our Sun, the X-rays come from a very small region,’ Di Stefano added in a separate statement.  

The object was found looking at dips in X-rays from X-ray binaries, which often have a neutron star or black hole pulling gas in front of a companion star

The object was discovered looking at dips of X-rays coming from Xray binaries. These often have a neutron or black hole pulling gas in front. 

It could be part of the star system M51-ULS-1. The system could be made up of a black hole, a neutron star, and a companion star with roughly 20 times the mass of the sun.

During observation of the system, the X-ray emission levels dropped to zero. This would indicate that the planet is approximately the same size as Saturn and orbits the neutron star or blackhole at roughly twice the distance Saturn orbits.

More data is needed in order to confirm its existence. This may take decades as data suggests that the planet takes around 70 years to cross its binary partner.

More data is needed to confirm the existence of its planet, something that may not happen for decades, as data suggests the planet takes roughly 70 years to cross in front of its binary partner

More data is required to confirm the existence and future development of the planet. This may take decades as data suggests that the planet takes around 70 years to cross the binary partner.

Nia Imara, study co-author, added that ‘Unfortunately to confirm we’re seeing the planet we would likely need to wait decades for another transit. 

“And because there are uncertainties about how long it takes for orbit to reach Earth, we wouldn’t know when to look.”

It is possible that the dimming in M51-ULS-1’s star system could have been caused a gust or gas, however, that’s unlikely, given the data.

Julia Berndtsson, a Princeton University study co-author, said that “We know we are making an exciting claim so we expect other astronomers to look at it very carefully.”

“We believe we have a strong argument. This is how science works.”

NASA said that the planet may exist if it is believed to exist. NASA also noted that the planet could have experienced a turbulent and violent history. Researchers also note how the neutron star and black hole were created by supernova explosions.

It is possible that the companion star could become a supernova and hit the planet with high levels radiation in the future.

However, the researchers are excited about the possibility of finding the first planet in the galaxy by using this method.

‘The first confirmed planet outside of our solar system was found around a pulsar, an object typically observed in X-rays,’ Norbert Schartel, XMM-Newton Project Scientist for ESA, explained.

“I am excited that Xrays now also play an important step in the search to find planets beyond our galaxy’s borders,” said X-rays. 

Di Stefano agreed: “Now that we have this method for finding potential planet candidates in other galaxies. Our hope is that, by looking at all of the available Xray data in archives, we will find many more.  

We might be able to confirm their existence in the future. 

The study has been published by Nature Astronomy.