Posted: Tue, Jan 11, 2005, 9:07 AM ET (1407 GMT)
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the existence of an object that may be an extrasolar planet orbiting a brown dwarf star. The object was first seen last April at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope as a dim body next to the brown dwarf 2M1207, 225 light-years away. The follow-up observations by Hubble's infrared camera confirmed the object exists and appears to be gravitationally bound to the brown dwarf; previously, astronomers could not rule out that the planet was just a background object not associated with the brown dwarf. Astronomers estimate that the object is five times the mass of Jupiter and orbits the brown dwarf at a distance of about eight billion kilometers.