An illustration showing an exoplanet with Terbium. Image Credit: Bibiana Prinoth.

Astronomers Discover Alien World That Should Not Exist

This resilient exoplanet has endured what seemed to be inescapable destruction by its sun.


The ultimate fate of our sun’s expansion threatens to obliterate Earth, a common destiny for planets as their host stars age. However, this cosmic demise isn’t a universal law, as illustrated by the recent discovery of an alien world that should not exist. This resilient exoplanet has endured what seemed to be inescapable destruction by its sun.

Halla, a planet resembling Jupiter, circles the red giant Baekdu at a mere half of the distance between Earth and our sun. A group of astronomers from the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy, led by Marc Hon, a NASA Hubble Fellow, used W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope to unveil Halla’s survival against Baekdu’s usually disastrous transformation.

Astronomer Discover Alien World That Should Not Exist

Baekdu’s stellar quakes, captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, revealed the star is in the helium-burning phase of its core, indicating it had previously ballooned into a red giant. This research is featured in the renowned journal Nature.


Baekdu would have swelled 1.5 times Halla’s orbital distance, absorbing the planet before retracting to just a tenth of the distance. Hon, the study’s leading author, commented on the miraculous survival of Halla, branding it an “extraordinary survivor” in the face of the catastrophic consequences of planetary engulfment.

Exploring Theories Behind Halla’s Unlikely Survival Pathway

Residing at 0.46 astronomical units from its star, Halla typifies “warm” or “hot” Jupiter-like planets, believed to have initially occupied larger orbits before migrating inward. Despite this, a rapidly transforming host star paints a doubtful picture for Halla’s survival.

An alternate theory proposes that Halla was spared engulfment by its host star originally comprising two stars, whose merger might have hindered sufficient expansion to annihilate the planet. Another scenario proposes Halla as a recent addition, born from a gas cloud following a violent collision between two stars, indicating a possible “second-generation” origin.


Uncovering Binary Systems Could Explain More Planet Survivals

Hon explained that although binary systems host most stars, our understanding of planetary formation around them remains incomplete. The existence of more resilient planets like Halla around highly evolved stars might be made possible through binary interactions.

PLEASE READ: Have something to add? Visit Curiosmos on Facebook. Join the discussion in our mobile Telegram group. Also, follow us on Google News. Interesting in history, mysteries, and more? Visit Ancient Library’s Telegram group and become part of an exclusive group.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch