Research NewsAstronomy

51 Peg and the Perils of Planet Searches

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Science  30 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5317, pp. 1338
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5317.1338

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The first planetlike object found around a sunlike star, detected some 20 months ago at the star 51 Pegasi, has faced more than its share of scrutiny. The latest doubts are coming from astronomers at the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, both in Pasadena, who have observed the star with a powerful telescopic array called an infrared interferometer and seen hints that the object orbiting 51 Peg may be a dim companion star, not a planet.