News & CommentAstronomy

Is First Extrasolar Planet a Lost World?

Science  28 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5304, pp. 1257-1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5304.1257

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In a paper in yesterday's issue of Nature, a respected Canadian astronomer labels the first apparent discovery of a planet orbiting a sunlike star outside our solar system a case of mistaken identity. He argues that a subtle, periodic signal in the spectrum of the star 51 Pegasi, originally attributed to the gravitational tug of a roughly Jupiter-sized planet, was actually generated by a complex sloshing on the star's surface. The researchers who made the original claim are not conceding, however.