First Planet From Outside Our Galaxy Found
Astronomers say they have found the first planet that came from out of our galaxy. The planet is similar to Jupiter and once belonged to a galaxy that was consumed by our Milky Way. Astronomers in Chile discovered the new planet with a powerful telescope.
The new planet is revolving around a star, called HIP 13044. It is about 2,000 light years away from earth and once belonged to a neighbouring galaxy, which was swallowed up by the Milky Way about 6 billion years ago. The planet, about the size of Jupiter, travels closely around its sun in an orbit that takes 16 days to complete.
Up to now, astronomers have discovered 500 planets, all of which have their origin in the Milky Way. The new discovery gives scientists proof that many more planets may exist outside our own galaxy.
HIP 13044 is in its dying phase. The star has turned into a red giant, consumed all of its fuel and is getting larger and larger. It has eaten up all of its planets, but obviously only one survived.
The discovery can be helpful to scientists in showing them what may happen in our own solar system when our sun is expected to become a red giant in about 5 billion years.
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- astronomer = a scientist who studies the stars and the planets
- billion = a thousand million
- closely = very near
- complete = finish
- consume = take up, eat up
- discover = to find something for the first time
- fuel = energy
- galaxy = one of the large groups of stars that make up our universe
- light year = the distance that light travels in one year ; about 9.4 trillion kilometres
- Milky Way = the galaxy that our sun and the planets are in
- obviously = clearly
- orbit = to go around an object in a circle
- origin = beginning
- proof = facts that show that something is true
- red giant = a star getting near the end of its life and shining in a red glow
- revolve = go around
- similar = like
- solar system = the sun and the planets
- survive = to keep existing
- swallow = consume
- telescope = object shaped like a long round tube; it makes faraway objects look larger