A reddish speck photographed near a dim and distant star last year is indeed a planet, about five times the mass of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2000/12/18/1522.html ' target=_blank>Jupiter, an international team of astronomers is reporting today.
They say the results bolster their claim, put forward last fall, that this image was the first of a planet orbiting a star outside the solar system. The planet, about 230 light-years from &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/378/14269_aliens.html ' target=_blank>Earth in the constellation Hydra, orbits a kind of failed star known as a brown dwarf at a distance of at least five billion miles, twice as far as icy Neptune is from our own Sun. Spectroscopic measurements show water vapor in its atmosphere, suggesting that it is cold like a planet and not hot like a star, reports the New York Times.
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