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he world that we live in is very interesting and knowing that we are not even a smidge on this universe that may be infinite makes me only think that we are still at the beginning of humanity. I would imagine that probably everyone wants to find out the meaning of this life, and if there is a meaning to it we would probably find it somewhere within the near infinity of our universe.

That is why NASA and other space organizations have sent out numerous probes, signal radars, and telescopes out into the wild space in the search not only for extraterrestrial life but for what is yet to be discovered. On the 25th of October 2021, astronomers from NASA have found signs that represent a planet outside of our galaxy. Since 1992 when the first exoplanet was discovered, another 5000 have been identified, but all within the Milky Way (our galaxy).

Astronomers say that they have discovered a cosmic body outside of our galaxy that shows signs of being an actual planet and this is all thanks to the telescope sent out in space 22 years ago.

Chandra X-ray Observatory

Mostly referred to as “X-ray” is a telescope that was sent out in space in 1999 by NASA with a mission to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. The special technology allows the telescope to observe black hole systems and other stars that are millions of light-years away. The telescope is able to detect X-rays from stars that are far away and planets that are orbiting stars.

Images of Jingle, Pluck, and Hum produced from data gathered by Chandra X-ray Observatory Telescope (Source: NASA)

X-ray is considered to be the most powerful X-ray telescope in the world and with the data, it gathers astronomers are able to obtain images like the ones presented above. Chandra allows scientists from around the world to obtain X-ray images of exotic environments to help understand the structure and evolution of the universe.

A new Galaxy full of possibilities

M51 Galaxy also nicknamed (Whirlpool) by astronomers is the closest galaxy to ours, at around 28 million light-years away or 2.6490045 x 1020 Kilometers. X-ray managed to find signs of a planet that is part of the M51 galaxy. Normal telescopes are only able to see around 3,000 light-years away but they do offer more information about the exoplanets. Although through X-rays we get less information, this is the only way for now that we can observe so far into space.

The planet identified was named M51-ULS-1 and they considered that based on the information gathered from the X-ray, the planet is of a similar size to Saturn. Even if we know that the planet exists, there is still not enough information for astronomers to confirm that the exoplanet is part of the M51 galaxy and not the Milky Way galaxy. Due to the missing information such as orbit patterns, astronomers say it could take decades until they could gather more information on this exoplanet.

“Unfrtunately to confirm that we’re seeing a planet we would likely have to wait decades to see another transit, and because of the uncertainties about how long it takes to orbit, we wouldn’t know exactly when to look.” (Quote by Nia Imara of the University of California at Santa Cruz)

Within the living generations in our time, this is surely to be a unique event and maybe remain a unique event for thousands of years to come until technology will be advanced enough to gather data on such distant exoplanets with ease. Maybe by that time, we will even colonize M51-ULS-1 or even the whole M51 Galaxy.

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