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ESA/NASA, M. Kornmesser

An alien world has suddenly gone missing

Fomalhaut b, one of the very first exoplanets to be seen directly by telescopes and given the name Dagon, has mysteriously disappeared. A dozen years on from its original sighting using the Hubble Space Telescope, some of the original discoverers took another look in Hubble images only to find it missing. Fomalhaut b’s discovery has long been controversial as it is unusually bright, cannot be seen in infrared images, and the system is very young to have a planet so large. The team is now suggesting what they saw was a cloud of debris from a rare collision between two objects the size of asteroids (as seen in this artist’s representation), which has now dispersed. But, as The New York Times reports, not everyone is buying it.

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