Distant Sun Has Planetary System Like Ours

Traveling to distant stars and encountering the life found there has been a staple of science fiction for generations. Scientists have now announced that a distant star hosts a planetary system with five distinct planets.


(Most recently discovered 5th planet in foreground; 55 Cancri shines bright)

Although the newly found planet is about 45 times as massive as the Earth, it orbits its sun every 260 days and is in the habitable zone of 55 Cancri. The habitable zone of a star is the region surrounding in in which water can exist in liquid form - a necessary condition for life as we know it.

The planets were found by combining observations from the Lick Observatory and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Astronomers used the radial velocity, or "wobble," technique: the presence of planets are inferred by the way they gravitationally affect their parent star's orbit.

Read more at Planet System Similar to Ours Revealed.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/7/2007)

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