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News Release Archive:

News Release 596 of 949

April 6, 2000 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2000-13

Suspected Protoplanet May Really Be a Distant Star

April 6, 2000: 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.

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Credit: NASA, Susan Tereby (Extrasolar Research Corp.)