Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed one of the
smallest objects ever seen around a normal star beyond our Sun.
Weighing in at
12 times the mass of Jupiter, the object is small enough to be a planet. The
conundrum is that it's also large enough to be a brown dwarf, a failed star. The
Hubble observation of the diminutive companion to the low-mass red dwarf star CHXR 73 is a dramatic reminder that astronomers do not have a consensus in
deciding which objects orbiting other stars are truly planets -- even though
they have at last agreed on how they will apply the definition of "planet" to
objects inside our solar system.
ESA and K. Luhman (Penn State University)