Planet from another galaxy discovered

European astronomers have discovered a unique planet. For the first time a planet was found to orbit a star that began its life outside our own Milky Way galaxy, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

In the last 15 years, almost 500 planets have been detected orbiting stars in our galaxy. But until now, no planet has been discovered that came from another galaxy. The discovery of a giant planet around the star HIP 13044 changes all that, a team of astronomers claims.

The gas planet, at least 25 per cent heavier than Jupiter – or 400 times heavier than Earth – orbits a star that started life in a dwarf galaxy. Known as HIP 13044b, the hydrogen and helium planet sits in a solar system belonging to a group of stars called the Helmi stream, some 2,000 light years away from Earth.

The star is actually now part of our galaxy, but scientists say it didn’t start out that way. HIP 13044 was part of a group of stars that originally belonged to a dwarf galaxy that the Milky Way absorbed six to nine billion years ago in an act of galactic cannibalism.

The Jupiter-like planet is particularly unusual, as it is orbiting a star nearing the end of its life and could be about to be engulfed by it, giving tantalising clues about the fate of our own planetary system in the distant future.

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