http://news.skymania.com/2007/11/new...to-aliens.htmlExcited astronomers have discovered a new planet that could be home to alien life, they revealed tonight. The world is orbiting a nearby star like the Sun in its so-called "habitable zone" - just the right distance for liquid water to exist.
It is the fifth planet to be identified in orbit around the star 55 Cancri, a star very similar in type and age to our own Sun, making it a virtual twin of our own solar system.
The star, which is dimly visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer, now holds the record for the number of worlds in orbit, after our own Sun. It lies just 41 light-years away - right on our cosmic doorstep.
Scientists said the new planet is 45 times the mass, or size of the Earth, and has a year 260 days long - the time it takes to orbit 55 Cancri. It was found by measuring the tiny wobble it causes to the star as it orbits. Detecting this was a triumph for the astronomers and took them 18 years of study from Lick Observatory, California, because it had to be separated from the effects of the other planets.