Officials Detect 2,000 Planets Outside Milky Way For First Time

For the first time ever, astrophysicists have discovered a large group of exoplanets outside of the Milky Way galaxy, according to a study published Friday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

University of Oklahoma researchers were able to detect an estimated 2,000 planets, ranging in mass from the size of Earth's moon to the mass of the Jupiter, by examining data gathered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Though exoplanets have been found before, what distinguishes this find from previous ones is that this is the first time that there has been confirmed evidence of planets outside of our galaxy.

Researchers managed to detect the extragalactic planets by using gravitational microlensing, an astronomical phenomenon that allows scientists to find objects in space by using light bent by a gravitational field.

"We are very excited about this discovery, this is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy," Xinyu Dai, lead researcher of the study, said in a statement. "These small planets are the best candidate for the signature we observed in this study using the microlensing technique. We analyzed the high frequency of the signature by modeling the data to determine the mass."

In a separate statement, fellow study author Eduardo Guerras indicated that the planets are in a galaxy roughly 3.8 billion light years away.

"This galaxy is located 3.8 billion light years away and 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 noted. "However, we are able to study them, unveil their presence and even have an idea of their masses."

"This is very cool science," he added.

In addition to using the Chandra observatory, Dai and Guerras also used microlensing models designed at the university's OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research.

Light Pollution Obstructs One-Third of the World to View the Milky Way, Study Finds

A new report by an international team of scientists revealed that man-made light pollution obstructs a third of humanity’s ability to view the Milky Way. The authors of the study recommend the conversion of light installations to LED light bulbs which the US Department of Energy supports.

A new study published in the journal of Science Advances says that more than a third of the world's population, including 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans, can no longer view the Milky Way as a result of man-made light pollution.

The research also noted that more than four-fifths of Earth's inhabitants now live under the hazy skies polluted by artificial light which effectively obstructs a third of humanity's population to see the Milky Way galaxy.

"This is a huge cultural loss with unforeseeable consequences in the future generations. Pristine night skies are a precious merchandise. The entire population lives under skies so bright that the eye cannot fully dark-adapt to night vision," scientist and lead author Fabio Falchi said as mentioned in a CNN report.

An international group of scientists created a new global atlas of artificial light pollution that details how man-made light permeates the planet. The scientists claim that light pollution obscures humanity's vision of celestial entities and events in the solar system and the entire Milky Way.

"The new atlas provides a critical documentation of the state of the night environment as we stand on the cusp of a worldwide transition to LED technology," said Falchi as quoted in a press release. "Unless careful consideration is given to LED color and lighting levels, this transition could unfortunately lead to a 2-3 fold increase in skyglow on clear nights."

The study also revealed that the tiny city-state of Singapore is the most light-polluted country on the planet with its entire population missing out the chance of experiencing a true night. Trailing closely are Kuwait and Qatar, Sky News reported. On the other hand, Chad, Central African Republic and Madagascar are countries with populations least exposed to artificial light.

To minimize the obstruction caused by man-made light pollution, Dr. Falchi suggests the use of Light- Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs in lighting installations- a conversion proposal the US Department of Energy supports.

"If all U.S. lighting installations were replaced overnight with the best LED technologies available in 2014, our nation would save 4,896 trillion Btu of energy," the department says as quoted by Christian Science Monitor. "That is MOST of the 7,000 trillion Btu we now use for lighting."


Mysterious Blobs in Milky Way Linked to Galaxy's Missing Matter

SYDNEY - Mysterious and almost invisible blobs in the clouds of gas that connects the stars in the Milky Way could be a part of the galaxy's missing matter, says a study led by Keith Bannister of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, and published in the Science journal Friday.

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