Hubble finds hints of a planet oddly far-flung from its star

If confirmed, the dark gap in space debris will challenge astronomers' theories

By Andrew Grant, 14:58 PM July 19, 2013

A mysterious gap in a star’s dusty shell of debris could be the signature of a young planet circling its sun at twice the distance of Pluto’s orbit. If it does exist, the far-flung planet’s birth may be hard for astronomers to explain.

“If this is a planet, it is extremely challenging for existing planet formation theories,” says Katherine Kretke, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Most planets are thought to begin their lives as small clumps of hot, rapidly mov...

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