But regardless of whether or not TW Hydrae
harbors full-grown planets, "it's nice to have the observational confirmation [of dust coalescing into pebbles] that we all believed was going on," he adds.
Dubbed TW Hydrae, the star seemed odd in another respect.
In 1989, Brazilian astronomers reported that TW Hydrae had company after all.
Examining a large swath of the southern sky in 1992, the Brazilian team found that TW Hydrae had several more companions.
A more youthful version of the TW Hydrae association, MBM12 still has traces of the gas cloud from which its stars emerged.
NGC 3242 is found 1.8[degrees] south and slightly west of 3.8-magnitude Mu ([mu]) Hydrae. The planetary is easy to see through a finder but looks like an 8th-magnitude star.
Now we'll move to the Water Snake's reddest star, V Hydrae. V Hydrae is a carbon star and, as such, has a number of carbon-bearing molecules in its atmosphere that act like a red filter.
To find V Hydrae, look first for 5th-magnitude [b.sup.3] Hydrae.
V Hydrae appears to be a dying red-giant star ready to form a planetary nebula.
R Hydrae was the third Mira-type variable discovered - after Mira itself (found in 1596, as described in the February issue, page 72) and Chi Cygni (in 1686).
R Hydrae's variability was discovered as early as 1704 by the Italian astronomer Giacomo Filippo Maraldi (1665-1729).
R Hydrae had already narrowly escaped discovery twice.
The most remarkable aspect of R Hydrae has been its slow but dramatic speedup in period, from 495 days at the time of the earliest sightings to only 389 days during the last 60 years.