November 19th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

From a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Artist's impression of exo-planet HIP 13044 B: a planet from another galaxy. From European Southern Observatory.

It's not often I get to write a story that involves "cosmic cannibalism" - in fact before today, I had never written a story like that. But times change, and intergalactic discoveries are made.

Okay, so in these days of hyper-science the discovery of yet another planet orbiting yet another star may not be anything out of the ordinary. Unless, of course, the planet and the star come from a galaxy far, far away.

The rather unromantically named HIP 13044 B is the first planet to be discovered in the milky way...that was born outside of our galaxy. The extra-galactic exo-planet (I love all this space speak!) was spotted by scientists at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It's 20% bigger than Jupiter and orbits a dying star that first got devoured by our galaxy six to nine-billion years ago. Yes, that' s where the "cosmic cannibalism" comes in.

What makes the newly discovered planetary pairing so fascinating to scientists - and to space geeks like me - is that the star is burning up, meaning exo-planet HIP 13044 B may soon become an ex-planet, engulfed by its host star.  That gives us all tantalising clues about the future of our own solar system.

Given that the planet is some 2,000 light-years away from Earth, it gives the phrase "distance-learning" a whole new meaning.

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Filed under: General • Personal musings
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Mia

    Hey! Great story you wrote there..but I have one doubt about something I over heard the other day on the news here in Europe...Is it true that N.A.S.A. discovered that two alien ships are traveling towards Earth? Because people maybe are to afraid to tell us the truth..but it's something we need to know, don't you think? 😀

    December 6, 2010 at 8:57 am | Reply

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