Skip navigation
A Record-Breaking, Astronomical Discovery

Narrator: This is Science Today. An American team of astronomers has discovered a record-breaking fifth planet around a nearby star called 55 Cancri - making it the only star aside from the sun known to have five planets. Geoffrey Marcy, a University of California, Berkeley astronomy professor, is a member of the search team.

Marcy: This new planetary system has some characteristics reminiscent of our solar system - a big planet outside like Jupiter, four smaller planets like Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars inward. Although, these planets orbiting inward are much bigger than the terrestrial planets that are near our sun.

Narrator: Unfortunately, Marcy says they don't have a single picture of one of them.

Marcy: What we would love to do is to have a space-borne telescope that NASA presumably would build, hopefully with our European collaborators. 109 And this would take the first snapshots of these other planets, maybe with enough detailed resolution to see the surfaces on them to see whether liquid water in the form of oceans and lakes making life possible, but even more so, getting the signs of life on those planets.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin