No doubt you’ve heard about extrasolar or exoplanets; planets that were discovered orbiting a star outside of our own solar system.
Nearly 3,000 of these planets have been confirmed so far, with many more candidate planets waiting to be verified.
However, these planets have all been discovered within our own Milky Way galaxy.
An astrophysics team from the University of Oklahoma has taken the search for planets beyond our own solar system a step further.
Using a technique called gravitational lensing, which was predicted by Albert Einstein in his 1915 General Theory of Relativity, they have discovered the first planets to be found outside of the Milky Way – or extragalactic planets.
Located in a galaxy 3.8 light years from earth the scientists say the planets they found have masses that span that of the Moon to Jupiter.
The discovery was made with data gathered by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The researchers wrote about their findings in a paper called, “Probing Planets in Extragalactic Galaxies Using Quasar Microlensing,” which was published in the academic periodical, Astrophysical Journal Letters.