Scientists say they have discovered a new planet orbiting a distant star.

Astronomers in California announced Tuesday they have confirmed the new planet is orbiting the sun-like star known as 55 Cancri, in the constellation Cancer. The scientists say the discovery marks the first time as many as five planets have been found orbiting a solar system outside our own.

Astronomers estimate the new planet is about 45 times more massive than Earth and has an orbit of 260 days. It is in what experts call the "habitable zone," meaning temperatures on the planet could support life and the presence of water is possible.

The researchers say today's technology makes it difficult to locate new planets. But the lead author of a forthcoming report on the new planet, Debra Fischer, said experts suspect the 55 Cancri system is, in her words, "packed with planets."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.