Billions and Billions of Planets
A new analysis of data from NASA's Kepler mission finds evidence for at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
January 03, 2013
Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure. But the sky is also filled with planets -- billions and billions of them at least.
That's the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32 -- planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority of planets in our galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most of these worlds form.
"There are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy," says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. "That's mind-boggling."
"It's a staggering number, if you think about it," adds Jonathan Swift, a postdoctoral student at Caltech and lead author of the paper. "Basically, there's one of these planets per star."
Full article and source http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-002
Now when do I get to meet ET?
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
A. A. Milne
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