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The Milky Way’s Alien Planets –160 Billion and Counting!

The Kepler Space Mission’s search for habitable planets is in a tiny window representing 1/400th of the Milky Way. „We used to think that the Earth might be unique in our galaxy,“ said Daniel Kubas, of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics. „But now it seems that there are literally billions of planets with masses similar to Earth orbiting stars in the Milky Way.“

According to an analysis of Kepler data this past January, each of the 100 billion or so stars in our galaxy hosts at least 1.6 planets, bringing the number of likely exo worlds to more than 160 billion. Recent research conclude that large numbers of these exoplanets are likely to be small, rocky Earth-like low-mass planets, which appear to be much more abundant than large ones.

„This statistical study tells us that planets around stars are the rule, rather than the exception,“ said study lead author Arnaud Cassan of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics. „From now on, we should see our galaxy populated not only with billions of bright stars, but imagine them surrounded by as many hidden extrasolar worlds.“

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 700 planets beyond our own solar system, with 2,300 additional candidates found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope awaiting confirmation.

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Juni 27, 2012 - Posted by | Presse |

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