The 2.2 m ESO/MPG telescope at ESO's La Silla observatory in Chile (Credit: ESO/H.H.Heyer)
Artist's impression of the yellowish star HIP 13044 and, on the bottom right, its planet HIP 13044 b (Credit: ESO/L. CalÃ§ada)
Projected timeline of our Sun's life showing the expected red dwarf stage
Astronomers have been discovering planets outside of our solar system – or exoplanets – at a steady rate in recent years. The number has now topped 500 and with earth-bound detection improving all the time and the Kepler mission out hunting with the largest camera ever sent into space, the rate is not likely to slow down anytime soon. Among these discoveries are some extraordinary finds like the first "potentially habitable" exoplanet, but what's different about this latest discovery is not the Earth-like qualities of the planet, it's the fact that it originated from outside the Milky Way – which makes it an extragalactic exoplanet.
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