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MACHO device finds planet in another galaxy! (Universe Today, June 10)

not just an extrasolar planet mind you... WTF!? [-ed.]

"Using a technique called Pixel-lensing, a group of astronomers in Italy may have detected a planet orbiting another star. But this planet is unique among the 300-plus exoplanets discovered so far, as it and its parent star are in another galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy, to be exact. Technically, the star in M31 was found to have a companion about 6 times the mass of Jupiter, so it could be either a brown dwarf or a planet. But either way, this is a remarkable feat, to find an object of that size in another galaxy."

"Pixel-lensing, or gravitational microlensing was developed to look for MAssive Compact Halo Objects MACHOs in the galactic halo of the Milky Way. Because light rays are bent when they pass close to a massive object, the gravity of a nearby star focuses the light from a distant star towards Earth. This method is sensitive to finding planets in our own galaxy, ranging is sizes from Jupiter-like planets to Earth-sized ones. And recently, astronomers used gravitational microlensing to be able to see about a dozen or so stars in M31, an extraordinary accomplishment in itself."

"The team notes in their paper that perhaps an extrasolar planet in M31 might have already been detected since an anomaly in a pixel-lensing light curve was previously reported by another research team in 2004, who claimed that a possible binary system in M31 was responsible for an observed anomaly in an observed light curve."

Scott Bright- at Synapse Product Development

Co-Chair - Synapse Board of Directors


Employee Since



Seattle - Decatur