Astronomers Discover a Multiple-Planet Star System

Astronomers announced the discovery of a fifth planet orbiting another star. This makes this star system the largest extrasolar planetary system.

The star in question is 55 Cancri, a star in the constellation Cancer that is the same age and mass as our sun. The planet which was newly announced lies in the “habitable zone” around the star, orbiting every 260 days. It is the fourth planet from the star. Now, before you say “hey, it’s another earth-type planet!” be aware that from reports this planet seems to be 45 times the mass of the Earth, and could be more of a Jupiter or Saturn-type gas giant.

Just think. In 1995 the only planets were knew of were the ones orbiting our sun. now, a scant twelve years later, there have been over 250 planets discovered orbiting other stars.

For more information about this, please read the news release at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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