Astronomers have discovered a record-breaking fifth planet around the nearby star 55 Cancri, making it the only star aside from the sun known to have five planets.
The discovery comes after 19 years of observations of 55 Cancri and represents a milestone for the California and Carnegie Planet Search team, which this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first attempts to find extrasolar planets by analyzing the wobbles they cause in their host star.
The team's long history of measurements - more than 300 for 55 Cancri alone - made the discovery of a five-planet system possible, said UC Berkeley astronomy professor Geoffrey Marcy, who with Paul Butler, now at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, began observations of many nearby stars at the University of California Lick Observatory in 1987.
The unique 55 Cancri system, located 41 light-years away in the direction of the
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