[This text is based on Associated Press and Reuters news stories dated April 24, 1997.]
NEW YORK -- Astronomers announced the discovery of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a nearby star on Thursday, April 24, boosting their confidence that there are many more planets to be found - posasibly including some that harbor life.
The newly found object orbits a star called Rho Coronae Borealis, which is about 50 light years from earth in the constellation Northern Crown. Depending on how you count, it's somewhere between the ninth and 13th extrasolar planet-like object found since the first of its kind was announced in late 1994.
Its discovery was announced by Robert Noyes of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and seven other astronomers. It is to be reported in a future issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, a journal of the American Astronomical Society.
The new planet lies about 23 million miles from its star, or about a quarter the distance from the sun to Earth. Because it is so close to its star, its surface temperature is estimated at 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit -- much too hot to support life.
But there's a good chance that more livable planets could be orbiting Rho Coronae Borealis or a similar star.
"This discovery helps show that giant planets like Jupiter may be reasonably common around ordinary stars," Noyes said.
"There could well be many smaller planets in these systems that we just can't see by present techniques," he added.
Original file name: CNI - New Planet found
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