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Nation in brief

Earth-like planet discovered outside solar system

By wire services
Published January 26, 2006

Scientists using a technique derived from Albert Einstein's theories said Wednesday they have detected the most Earth-like planet ever discovered outside the solar system - an icy, rocky world 5 times the size of Earth orbiting a star 28,000 light years away.

The new planet, given the identifier OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, was discovered last summer by teams of researchers using telescopes spread throughout the world. The scientists said the discovery suggested Earth-like planets are quite common in the universe.

The finding was reported in the journal Nature by a team of researchers from 12 countries.

The planet lies in the constellation Sagittarius, close to the center of the Milky Way.

Nearly all the known exoplanets have been detected by their gravitational tug on the stars they orbit, which makes the stars wobble. The new planet is the third to be uncovered by a different technique, which uses the fact that a celestial body's gravity bends light like a cosmic glass lens.

Inmate convicted of killing former priest in prison

WORCESTER, Mass. - The inmate who strangled child-molesting priest John Geoghan was convicted of murder Wednesday after failing to convince a jury he was delusional. Joseph Druce, 40, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Druce sneaked into Geoghan's prison cell in August 2003, jammed the door shut with a book, then beat the 68-year-old Geoghan and strangled him with stretched-out socks before guards could step in.

Elsewhere . . .

ALASKA PLANE CRASH: A small jet crashed into a mobile home park in Ketchikan, Alaska, on Wednesday, killing the pilot, authorities said. All residents had been accounted for, officials said.

KATRINA EVACUEES KILLED: A man who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina fatally shot his girlfriend and himself in their rental home in Austell, Ga., and wounded her 4-year-old son, police said Wednesday. Jerome Spears, 28, killed Rachel Harris, 23, and then himself, police said.

[Last modified January 26, 2006, 01:02:16]

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