Highlights

  • Rosanne Di Stefano from the Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge led the study
  • Researchers estimate that the exoplanet candidate would be roughly the size of Saturn
  • The planet in M51 is about 28 million light-years away

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Beyond the Milky Way Galaxy: Nasa makes a striking discovery

Astronomers believe they have found evidence of a planet the size of Saturn in the Whirlpool galaxy after studying data from X-rays.

Astronomers have found evidence of a possible planet in the M51 (“Whirlpool”) galaxy. If confirmed, it will be the first time a planet has been detected outside the Milky Way. The discovery of the exoplanet was made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Rosanne Di Stefano from the Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge led the study, published recently in Nature Astronomy.

Also watch: NASA releases stunning image of Mars' frosty dunes

Exoplanets are normally discovered by watching for small dips in light as the planets pass in front of their star as viewed from Earth. Researchers estimated that the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn.

According to astronomers, the planet in M51 is about 28 million light-years away. That means it would take a space ship travelling at the fastest speed possible in the universe, 28 million years to reach the planet.

Also watch: NASA all set to fly its 'Ingenuity' mini-helicopter on Mars

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