Follow-up observations of an unusual object initially suspected to be the first directly detected planet outside our solar system have shown that the object is too hot to be a planet. Astronomers now believe it is more likely that the strange object is a background star whose light has been dimmed and reddened by interstellar dust, giving the illusion that it is in the vicinity of the double star system in which it was initially believed to have been a planet.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope photographed the mysterious object, called TMR-1C, in 1997. The picture shows a bright dot at the end of a long streamer of reflective dust stretching 135 billion miles (225 billion kilometers) back to the binary star located 450 light-years away in the constellation Taurus the bull.
Image Credit: Susan Terebey (Extrasolar Research Corp.), and NASA