Geoffrey Marcy, a professor of astronomy at San Francisco State University, said he has found a planet slightly larger than Jupiter orbiting a star about 100 light years away.
Within the past year, Marcy said, he and other scientists had discovered seven new planets outside our solar system.
"We now have eight that are orbiting sun-like stars," he told a news conference at NASA's Ames Research Centre near San Francisco, where he was attending a scientific conference.
Marcy did not say which star the planet is orbiting. He said he would announce more details in October with Professor Bill Cochran of the University of Texas, who also discovered the new planet. The two scientists worked independently, but later compared notes and found they had both discovered the same planet, Marcy said.
Until recently, astronomers did not know for sure of any planets orbiting nearby stars. Last year, a team at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland discovered the first planet orbiting a normal star outside our solar system.
In January, Marcy and San Francisco State University colleague Paul Butler announced they had discovered two new planets whose environments might be able to support life. Marcy has played a part in locating several of the other newly-discovered planets.
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