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Astronomers have confirmed the first discovery of an alien planet in our Milky Way that came from another galaxy, they announced today (Nov. 18).
The Jupiter-like planet orbits a star that was born in another galaxy and later captured by our own Milky Way sometime between 6 billion and 9 billion years ago, researchers said. A side effect of the galactic cannibalism brought a faraway planet within astronomers' reach for the first time ever.
Using volumes of data from the Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), a major project to survey the sky in infrared light led by the University of Massachusetts, the astronomers are answering questions that have baffled scientists for decades and proving that our own Milky Way is consuming one of its neighbors in a dramatic display of ongoing galactic cannibalism. The study published in the Astrophysical Journal, is the first to map the full extent of the Sagittarius galaxy and show in visually vivid detail how its debris wraps around and passes through our Milky Way. Sagittarius is 10,000 times smaller in mass than the Milky Way, so it is getting stretched out, torn apart and gobbled up by the bigger Milky Way.