Tau1 Gruis, the star that the newly discovered exoplanet orbits around.
Courtesy of NASA/JPL

More than 100 planets orbit distant stars!
News story originally written on September 25, 2002

Astronomers have found another planet outside our solar system. That makes a total of 102 exoplanets that have been found so far!

The astronomers that found the exoplanet, have been searching outside our solar system for planets like Earth. The planet they found is three times as far from its star as Earth is from the Sun and its mass is like Jupiterís.

The solar system of the discovered planet looks a bit like ours. The planets are strung out in a line from the star with the larger planets further away from the star.

To look for exoplanets, astronomers look for far-away stars that look like they sway back and forth. They look like they sway because the planets pull on the star as they orbit around it.

After astronomers find exoplanets that are like Earth, they will look for evidence of life. Perhaps they will someday find that we are not alone in the universe!

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