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Van Biesbroeck 8





A nearby, low-luminosity M star (red dwarf) which appears in the catalogue of ultrafaint objects discovered by the Belgian-American astronomer George van Biesbroeck (1880–1974); it lies in the constellation Ophiuchus at a distance of 18.7 light-years. In 1984, independent announcements were made of the discovery of an unseen companion, van Biesbroeck 8b (VB 8b), which was suspected of being a brown dwarf. The claims were made by Robert Harrington of the US Naval Observatory, based on astrometric observations, and by Donald McCarthy and colleagues at the University of Arizona, from a study using infrared speckle interferometry. Despite this persuasive double sighting, however, subsequent observations of greater sensitivity failed to uncover any further trace of the object. As a result, it is now generally accepted that VB 8b does not exist.


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