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OU researchers first to discover planets in new galaxy

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An OU astrophysics team is now the first to discover planets beyond the Milky Way Galaxy.

An OU astrophysics team has discovered a population of planets beyond the Milky Way Galaxy, marking the first time anyone has ever discovered planets in other galaxies.

Xinyu Dai, an OU physics and astronomy professor, and OU postdoctoral researcher Eduardo Guerras made their discovery through a technique called microlensing, in which they were able to detect the high magnification of trillions of planets 3.8 billion light-years away from Earth, according to a press release.

The planets range in size from the mass of the moon to the mass of Jupiter, according to the release.

Dai and Guerras used data gathered from the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, a telescope in space controlled by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, to study the objects, and said in the release they were very excited to discover that they were planets.

“There is not the slightest chance of observing these planets directly, not even with the best telescope one can imagine in a science fiction scenario,” Guerras said in the press release. “However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence and even have an idea of their masses. This is very cool science.”

Sierra Rains-Moad is a senior journalism major at the University of Oklahoma and a news reporter for the OU Daily.

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