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Astronomers, including Carnegie’s Yuri Beletsky, took precise measurements of the closest pair of failed stars to the Sun, which suggest that the system harbors a third, planetary-mass object. The research is published as a letter to the editor in Astronomy & Astrophysics [preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.1303].

Failed stars are known as brown dwarfs and have a mass below 8% of the mass of the Sun -- not massive enough to burn hydrogen in their centers. This particular system, Luhman 16AB, was discovered earlier this year and is only 6.6 light-years away.

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