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Astronomers have discovered a fifth planet orbiting the star 55 Cancri, making it the record-holder outside of good ol' Sol for number of confirmed planets orbiting one star. Interestingly, it's only 41 light-years away in the constellation Cancer, so we might be able to meet its denizens one day *g*

Here's an artist's representation of the newest find:

Click the image to see the story.

MSNBC is reporting the story from the angle that this new planet orbits in the habitable zone or, as they say, "the 'Goldilocks zone' - a place that's not too hot, not too cold, but just right for the existence of liquid water and conceivably life." Unfortunately for life, 55 Cancri (aka Rho Cancri) is a binary system, with a yellow dwarf similar to our Sun and a red dwarf. The two stars are separated by over 1000 AUs, or 1/63rd of a light-year.

Cool beans! Thanks to scarlettina for the tip.

Best,
Chris

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
silk_noir
Nov. 7th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the space porn!
mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
I try to post something just about every day!
silverfae
Nov. 7th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
So have you been looking at the exploding comet?
mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
silverfae
Nov. 8th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
oooh, very cool!
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
It messes up orbits, seasons, and complex life formation... or at least so goes conventional alien-biology reasoning. Who knows, though! This system is currently 63rd on the list of 100 most-likely candidates for Earth-like environments, according to NASA.
sarahbrand
Nov. 7th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
the list of 100 most-likely candidates for Earth-like environments

Google's failing me. Do you have a link?
mckitterick
Nov. 8th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
That would be NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder program.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )