vendredi 19 novembre 2010

[VIBE]: 'Alien' planet detected circling dying star

This artist's impression shows HIP 13044 b, an exoplanet orbiting a star that entered our galaxy, the Milky Way, from another galaxy

Astronomers claim to have discovered the first planet originating from outside our galaxy.
The Jupiter-like planet, they say, is part of a solar system which once belonged to a dwarf galaxy.
This dwarf galaxy was in turn devoured by our own galaxy, the Milky Way, according to a team writing in the academic journal Science.
The star, called HIP 13044, is nearing the end of its life and is 2000 light years from Earth.
The discovery was made using a telescope in Chile.
Cosmic cannibalism
Planet hunters have so far netted nearly 500 so-called "exoplanets" outside our Solar System using various astronomical techniques.
The exoplanet was detected by a European team of astronomers using the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile

The exoplanet was detected by a team using the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope in Chile

But all of those so far discovered, say the researchers, are indigenous to our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
This find is different, they say, because the planet circles a sun which belongs to a group of stars called the "Helmi stream" which are known to have once belonged to a separate dwarf galaxy.
This galaxy was gobbled up by the Milky Way between six and nine billion years ago in an act of intergalactic cannibalism.
The new planet is thought to have a minimum mass 1.25 times that of Jupiter and circles in close proximity to its parent star, with an orbit lasting just 16.2 days.

It sits in the southern constellation of Fornax.
The planet would have been formed in the early era of its solar system, before the world was incorporated into our own galaxy, say the researchers.

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