Astronomers Discover Two New Planets Orbiting Star

Astronomers say the star is about half the size of our sun and being orbited by the two planets. The planets are believed to be smaller versions of Jupiter and Saturn are about 5,000 light years away.

The breakthrough eventually took several months to confirm and was the first time researchers used a new technique called gravitational microlensing. Four single planets have been found previously using microlensing.

Researchers explained that a lensing effect magnified the light of the distant star by 500 times.

The newly discovered planets are gaseous, similar to Jupiter and Saturn, are about 5,000 light years away. The planets are also much closer to their parent star.

The larger planet is about 70% of the mass of Jupiter. The other planet is only about 30% of the mass of Jupiter, making it closer in size to Saturn.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation; NASA; the Polish Ministry of Scientific Research and Information Technology; the SRC Korea Science & Engineering Foundation; the Korea Astronomy & Space Science Institute; German Research Council; Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council; the European Union Program for Research and Technological Development; the Israel Science Foundation; the Marsden Fund of New Zealand; the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.