How many planets are there in the Andromeda galaxy?

Andromeda is situated approximately 2.5 million light-years away from Earth as the closest neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way. It is no doubt that Andromeda will have millions of planets orbiting around its stars. However, confirming the existence of planets is a difficult task since planets don’t emit light as stars do. Even finding planets out of our Solar system requires difficulty and precision. The exoplanets that have been found to date are all present in our own galaxy only.

However, a group of astronomers in 2010 reported finding the very first planet on Andromeda hosted by its star. They reported that the planet is 1.25 times more massive than Jupiter, 2300 light years away from Earth, and rotating as a massive aging star.

The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg’s researcher Johny Setiawan and his colleagues claimed to find the planet which caused its host star to wobble due to its heavy gravitational field. They named the host star HIP 13044 which is one member of a group of stars called Helmi stream with elongated and unusual orbits that bring them far above and below the disc of the galaxy. They said that the Helmi stars are actually fragments of a galaxy torn apart by the Milky Way.

Scientists called it a possible planet in Andromeda by saying, “This cosmic merger has brought an extragalactic planet within our reach.” However, they added that the host star has fewer elements heavier than hydrogen and helium with 10% iron. The planets are probably formed from the disc of gas and dust leftovers from the star. Scientists say that the star and its planets are in a different collaboration than normally found in our Milky Way. They said, “The fact that the star is also likely to have come from somewhere other than the disc of our galaxy makes it even more remarkable, and supports the suspicion that planetary systems are rife in the universe.”

However, the data is still uncertain and face multiple problems that researchers discarded the planet candidate from its credit.

There’s another possible planet candidate in the Andromeda galaxy, PA-99-N2. The exoplanet has been detected with the help of a microlensing event. A microlensing event is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs due to the gravitational lens effect. It is used in detecting objects ranging from the mass of a planet to the mass of a star regardless of the light they emit. The possible exoplanet is expected to have a mass 6.34 times of Jupiters’. However, the exoplanet and its star system are yet to be confirmed.

Scientists have also added that there isn’t any confirmed data regarding the existence of a planet in the Andromeda galaxy. However, according to statistics, there could be a possibility of planets existing within the goldilocks area of its stars where it would have liquid water to sustain life.

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