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An artist's impression of the Fomalhaut system, some 25 light years from the Sun. Could tachyons take us there? (Image credit: NASA)

This image shows the debris ring around Fomalhaut and the location of its first known planet. This is the actual discovery image – published in the journal Science in November 2008. Fomalhaut b was the first beyond our solar system visible to the eye in photographic images. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A second look at data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is reanimating the claim that the nearby star Fomalhaut hosts a massive exoplanet. The study suggests that the planet, named Fomalhaut b, is a rare and possibly unique object that is completely shrouded by dust.

Fomalhaut is sometimes called the Loneliest Star. Its planet Fomalhaut b was the first beyond our solar system to be visible to the human eye.

Fomalhaut b was one of the first planets confirmed by direct imaging (along with three planets around HR 8799). Its existence was later called into question, but subsequently confirmed. It is estimated to be approximately the size of Saturn, and might even have rings. It resides within a debris ring which encircles the star Fomalhaut, located about 25 light-years away from Earth. I have nicknamed it "Aslan," after the divine lion in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis.

This diagram shows the orbit of the exoplanet Fomalhaut b as calculated from recent Hubble Space Telescope observations. The planet follows a highly elliptical orbit that carries it across a wide belt of debris encircling the bright star Fomalhaut. Image released Jan. 8, 2013. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI) - See more at: http://www.space.com/22947-fomalhaut.html#sthash.xKu40DV3.dpuf

The nearby star system Fomalhaut -- of special interest for its unusual exoplanet and dusty debris disk -- has been discovered to be not jus...

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