back to article Fomalhaut b exoplanet may have been cloud in a trench coat: Massive 'world' formed after 'mid-space super-prang'

A massive exoplanet some 25 light years away may be nothing of the sort, astroboffins now believe – which isn't surprising seeing as it just vanished. In 2008, after four years of observations using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists announced the discovery of Fomalhaut b. Yet by 2014, the object had all but disappeared. …

  1. Conrad Longmore
    Black Helicopters

    Don't panic

    Planet just 25 light years away destroyed by unidentified but powerful forces. Move along please. Nothing to see here.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Don't panic

      That's no moon exoplanet!

      >>>These collisions are exceedingly rare<<< I'd think they're not rare on a galactic scale, but only where & when we've been looking up to now.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Don't panic

      The real story is that you are right; it's 25 ly away and so for nearly all of the last 10,000 years there has been nothing for humans to see here. Now, apparently, we can make inferences about something smaller than a Wales. (Have I got the El Reg units right here?)

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Don't panic

        Just make that 25 years, it is in the effing unit name: light year, the distance light travels in a year.

  2. Torben Mogensen

    Or a comet?

    Bright. Not emitting heat. Disperses over time. That sounds suspiciously like a large chunk of ice that sheds its surface as it nears a star. Otherwise known as a comet.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Or a comet?

      > a comet

      A comet "about 3 times the mass of Jupiter", would be a sight to behold indeed! Is such an object even possible? I guess gravity would transform an ice cube that size into a (quite stable) gas planet, which, due to the extreme gravity, would take an eternity to evaporate.

      A less dense cloud of ice then? We're back to the cosmic prang theory then, as such a thing is unstable and wouldn't last long.

  3. Scott Broukell

    Perhaps those same astronomers should look again, really, really closely - there might just be a bowl of petunias or even a blue whale in place of said exoplanet Fomalhaut b - just a thought.

  4. Draco

    Another one bites the dust

    Hopefully, the title and icon are sufficient ...

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Right place, right time?

    Not really, it's more like arriving at the wedding in the middle of the best mans speech. You missed the best bits but at least you turned up :-)

    Kudos on the great science though!

  6. HildyJ Silver badge

    Lack of social distancing

    The planets needed to follow the WHO's social distancing recommendations.

    The boffins need to keep the Who's advice in mind - we won't get fooled again.

    In any case kudos because Science!

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge


    For awhile there, I was sort of hoping that the boffins figured out it was a type if Death Star with cloaking device.

  8. not.known@this.address Silver badge

    What was it Sir Isaac Newton said?

    What if it's not "just a dust cloud" from a pair of colliding asteroids but the drive plume from Our Evil Alien Overlords? If that "dust cloud" is heading *away* from Earth then...

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