Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Planet From Another Galaxy.....

Take everything you thought you knew about planetary formation - oh - and what happens to a star's planets when it wanders off main sequence and drifts into it's expansive phase such as a red giant. OK? Now throw it all in the trash. Why? Well it all has to do with the discovery of a very odd gas giant planet orbiting an ancient red giant. Commonly held theories hold that old red giant stars do not form planets. If anything once they start to expand, these old stars absorb their satellites. Plus stars that are metal poor often lack the materials needed to even form stars.

You can understand that when astronomers discovered a planet circling an ancient, metal poor, red giant, (From an article in Science that Dan sent me, the star is called HIP 13044 and is 2000 light years away from us.
) they were fairly well perplexed. The planet's very orbit virtually assures that it would be absorbed when the star became a red giant. And you got to know that is not the weirdest thing about this pair. Oh no - here is the weird part from the IO9 article:
  • This star is part of a group that was once part of a satellite galaxy apart from the Milky Way, which was ... assimilated into our galaxy several billion years ago. In all likelihood, this planet predates that merger, meaning it's technically the first planet we've discovered that's from another galaxy.
And you thought things couldn't get any weirder.....

IO9 article on extragalactic planet

Yahoo news article thanks to Tim Sayell

wiki article on Extragalactic planet

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