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Twinkle, twinkle, little dot

Are you a planet or are you not?

By
3:42pm, August 12, 2010

The faint celestial object TMR-1C has had a checkered past — and now it has a checkered present.

In 1998, NASA proclaimed that a picture taken of the body a year earlier with the Hubble Space Telescope — a fuzzy white dot — might go down in history as the first planet beyond the solar system to be photographed (SN: 6/6/98, p. 357). The discovery team, led by Susan Terebey, now at California State University, Los Angeles, suggested that the object’s location — at the end of a long, luminous filament emanating from two newborn stars — indicated that TMR-1C was a planet cast off by those i

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