Get All Access for $5/mo

Astronomers May Have Located a Planet Outside of Our Galaxy for the First Time The possible planet was spotted in the Messier 51 galaxy, 28 million light-years away.

By Amanda Breen

The search for expolanets those orbiting stars beyond our sun is taking place outside of the Milky Way as we speak, and astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have observed indicators of a planet in the Messier 51 (M51) galaxy, 28 million light-years away.

If confirmed, this planet, estimated to be the size of Saturn, would be the farthest from our own ever detected. Exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy are no more than 3,000 light-years from Earth.

The recent finding was made possible by transits, a phenomenon that occurs when a planet passes in front of a star and blocks some of the star's light, which leads to a dimming effect that can be picked up by telescopes. Thousands of exoplanets have been located with this method.

Researchers didn't think gas clouds or dust were responsible for the reduced brightness because such characterstics weren't present in the M51 event. The findings did support the presence of a plant, but that data still has to be confirmed.

Related: Elon Musk Confirms Ocean Launchpad, Makes Historic Deal to Send Humans Into Space

The planet is likely orbiting a neutron star or black hole at twice the distance of Saturn from the sun, which means that it could take approximately 70 years before scientists witness another transit. Additionally, the recent transition lasted only three hours not allowing much time for verification.

But there's no guarantee conditions will even be the same at that point in the future. The "living" star could explode and cover the planet in radiation.

Although researchers have long held that planets populate galaxies outside of our own, confirming their existence would have major implications for future planetary searches, broadening the scope like never before.

Related: Will an Asteroid Hit Earth in 2022?

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Business in 2024 and Beyond

Insulate yourself from the turbulence so you can maximize the opportunities and grow.


Most Gen Z Workers Want This One Thing From Their Employer. Are You Providing It?

Millions of college graduates are entering the workforce, and many feel unprepared. Here's the one thing they're looking for from potential employers — and how providing it will benefit you and your business in the long run.

Making a Change

Get a Lifetime of Babbel Language Learning for Just $150 Through June 17

Learn up to 14 languages over the course of a lifetime, with bite-size lessons, personalized reviews, and speech recognition tech.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.