One of the stars in the Big Dipper constellation may not have originated within the Milky Way.
According to Live Science, instead, the star — conveniently named J1124+4535 — likely came from a galaxy that merged with ours some 10 billion years ago.
As per research that was published by Nature Astronomy last month, the unusual chemical signature and metal composition of the star clued in a team of Chinese and Japanese astronomers that the star likely came form a dwarf galaxy that sailed too near our own.
Furthermore, the collision is thought to have introduced billions of stars to the Milky Way, many of which are older than those native to our galaxy, per Live Science.
The scientists who spotted this celestial visitor write that there’s no easy way to tell just how many or which stars came from other galaxies. But with this new discovery, they at least have a new starting point for bigger exploration.