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November 12 2012

Hunting for the Real 'Planet X'

The announcement of the discovery of exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb on Oct. 16 is a testimony to how far planetary detection techniques have come over the last few decades.

It brings the total of confirmed exoplanets -- or "extra-solar planets" -- to a staggering 825. However, the search for planets in our own solar system has subsided since the pioneering days at the end of the 18th century with the discovery of Uranus and almost one hundred years later with the identification of Neptune. The idea of another planet, dubbed 'Planet X,' inspired astronomers to keep searching for yet another 100 years in a hunt that was full of twists and turns.

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