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Vanishing planet

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1:47pm, October 21, 2003

From College Park, Md., at the Annual October Astronomy Meeting

Earlier this year, a team based at the Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Tübingen, Germany, suggested that the star OGLE-TR-3, which appears to undergo periodic dimming, has a closely orbiting planet (SN: 5/10/03, p. 301: Available to subscribers at Fast-track planet).

But Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., says analysis of his team's spectra of the star, as well as a reanalysis of data from the German team, indicate there is no planet. Instead, the dimming is probably due to a pair of mutually eclipsing stars that happen to lie along the line of sight of OGLE-TR-3, he says.

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