Planet Or Failed Star? NASA's Hubble Telescope Photographs One of Smallest Stellar Companions Ever Seen
September 14, 2006
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed one of the smallest objects ever seen around a normal star beyond our Sun. Weighing in at 12 times the mass of Jupiter, the object is small enough to be a planet. The conundrum is that it's also large enough to be a brown dwarf, a failed star. The Hubble observation of the diminutive companion to the low-mass red dwarf star CHXR 73 is a dramatic reminder that astronomers do not have a consensus in deciding which objects orbiting other stars are truly planets -- even though they have at last agreed on how they will apply the definition of "planet" to objects inside our solar system.
Topics: Technology Internet, Human Interest, Planetary systems, Planetary science, Space exploration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Definition of planet, 55 Cancri, Brown dwarf, Hot Jupiters, Extrasolar planets, Hubble Space Telescope, Solar System, Planet, Jupiter