We aren’t alone. Alien worlds spotted outside Milky Way
In a discovery that may prove alien worlds are not only science fiction, a Canadian scientist has claimed to have found evidence of new stars and solar systems outside the Milky Way.world Updated: Nov 06, 2009 02:21 IST
In a discovery that may prove alien worlds are not only science fiction, a Canadian scientist has claimed to have found evidence of new stars and solar systems outside the Milky Way.
Erin Mentuch from the University of Toronto, who analysed 88 remote galaxies using their light output data from the Gemini Deep Deep Survey, discovered alien worlds beyond our own galaxy for the first time.
While analysing the data, Mentuch found that the light was emitted from the galaxies when the Universe was between a third and a half its current age — some seven to 10 billion years ago.
According to the research which will be published in The Astrophysics Journal, the galaxies were far too remote to view stars individually but their light output was found to peak at two distinct wavelengths. The short wavelength was the combined light of a galaxy’s stars while the longer came from the glowing interstellar dust.
However, the scientist noticed there was a faint third component between the peaks. This mysterious light was too cold to be produced by stars but too warm to be dust.
She concluded it was most likely caused by circumstellar discs — swirling clouds of dust and gas forming young solar systems around infant stars.
“It’s the most surprising result I’ve ever worked on,” said Mentuch’s supervisor Roberto Abraham, who collaborated on the project.
The discovery may show how the rate of planet formation has changed over billions of years, the Daily Mail reported.