25.6.09

IS THERE ANYBODY
OUT THERE?


Astronomers believe they have seen hints
of the first planet to be spotted
outside of our galaxy.

Situated in the Andromeda galaxy (below), the planet
appears to be about six times the mass of Jupiter.
The method hinges on gravitational lensing,
whereby a nearer object can bend the light of
a distant star when the two
align with an observer.

The results will be published in
Monthly Notices of the Royal
Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

The team, made up of researchers from the
National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN)
in Italy and collaborators in Switzerland, Spain,
and Russia, exploited a type of gravitational
lensing called microlensing.


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