Science: Planet or Star?

Excitement over a sighting

Is it a planet or is it a star? Or might it be a brown dwarf? Those questions were being debated throughout the rarefied world of astronomy last week after a University of Arizona team announced the first sighting of a planet outside the solar system. It appeared to be the long-awaited breakthrough hi the search for planetary systems other than our own: a warm ball of gas about the size of Jupiter seen orbiting around Van Biesbroeck 8, a star some 21 light-years from the earth. Since a light-year...

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