Historical photographs

Extrasolar planet. The advances in astronomy

Extrasolar planet. The advances in astronomy

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The discovery of a planet similar to Jupiter, with an orbit similar to that of Jupiter and around a star very similar to the Sun, 55 Cancri, announced on June 12, 2002, suggests that planetary systems similar to our Solar system exist elsewhere.

The planet, discovered by G. Marcy (UC Berkeley) and his collaborators, is one of two new planets discovered around 55 Cancri. In 1997 a planet of mass comparable to that of Jupiter was discovered in an orbit very close to the star. The finding involved the observation of very subtle changes in the speed of the star, caused by the planets that orbit it.

The drawing represents the possible aspect of this planet, and is completed with a supposed satellite. The star 55 Cancri, only 40 light-years away, is visible with binoculars in the constellation Cancer.

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