Of the hundreds of exoplanets found so far, there's one that's remained elusive and infamous 12 years after its purported discovery.
Once ridiculed as being a false start, it may have now returned from the dead.
The object's formal designation is TMR-1C. It lies about 450 light-years away in the Taurus molecular cloud.
Back in 1998, astronomer Susan Tereby announced that TMR-1C could be the first exoplanet ever directly photographed. At the time Tereby cautiously called it a "candidate planet."
The Hubble Space Telescope infrared image was compellingly believable (pictured top). A very red - and therefore cool - pinpoint object was at the end of a ghostly finger of illuminated dust stretching 135 billion miles from a young binary star system. The telltale finger was interpreted as being formed after the planet was gravitationally ejected from the binary system.
Astronomers were duly skeptical and accused Tereby of jumping the gun. It was not clear if the object was actually co-moving along with the double star, or even in the Taurus star-forming region. Though estimated to be less than 10 percent likely, the finger-like feature might simply be juxtaposed with a background star masquerading as a cooler planet. The object might look red only because its blue light is scattered by dust - as we see in sunsets.