The method consists of observing a star and seeing how the light that reaches Earth "wobbles" as a result of the gravitational pull of a passing planet.
The tiny fluctuation in light can then be used as a telltale to calculate the mass of the transiting planet.
The five detected planets are big, being the size of Neptune, although they orbit at a far closer range than our own gas giant, with a "year" ranging from between six and 600 days.
The astronomers also found tantalizing evidence that two other candidate planets are out there.
One would be a very large planet, the size of our Saturn, orbiting in 2,200 days.
The other would be 1.4 times the mass of Earth, making it the smallest exoplanet yet to be discovered. It orbits HD 10180 at a scorchingly close range, taking a mere 1.18 Earth days to zip around the star.
If confirmed, that would bring the distant star system to seven planets, compared with eight in our own solar system.
A total of 402 stars with planets have been logged since the first was detected in 1995, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The tally of exoplanets stands at 472.