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This Exoplanet Suddenly Disappeared From Space, Where Did It Go?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Astronomy   |   Science  
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A planet discovered by Hubble suddenly vanished. So where did it go, and what does its disappearance mean for the study of planetary systems?
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Fomaulhaut b, one of the first exoplanets to be directly imaged by telescopes, vanished in 2014but new research may finally explain where it went.

The planet was observed orbiting the star Fomalhaut (hence the name Fomalhaut b). The Hubble Space Telescope was the first to spot Fomalhaut b in 2004 and then again in 2006 as just a moving dot around its star, even though Fomalhaut b was estimated to be as massive as three Jupiters and much brighter than other exoplanets, which tend to be too small to reflect enough light for us to see.

But new analysis of Hubble's observations of Fomalhaut b suggests that a planet may have never been there in the first place, and in fact, what Hubble captured was something entirely different.

Find out what the new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests happened in this Elements.

#hubble #fomaulhautb #exoplanet #spaceexploration #planet #seeker #elements

Read More:

The Case of the Disappearing Exoplanet
"Perusing a decade of Hubbles observations, some scientists now say that planet Fomalhaut b never existed."

Exoplanets: Alien Worlds
"Calculations based on initial data from Kepler suggest that a hundred billion planets exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Of those, as many as ten billion may be rocky planets like Earth."

How Amateurs Could Help Future Exoplanet Observations
"'I know theres a ton of amateur astronomers out there that have really nice telescopes and that are capable of doing really high-precision observations, says Zellem. Even with a small 6-inch telescope, you can get really nice light curves.'"


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