Astronomers say 100 billion planets in the galaxy and what this means to you
Research has implications in search for habitable worlds.
A new study by astronomers suggests there could be at least 100 billion planets in the Milky Way galaxy. The study has implications for our understanding of the universe and the search for life beyond our solar system.
The Kepler Space telescope can monitor hundreds of stars simultaneously, recording evidence for planets around them.
M-class dwarf stars are the most common stars in our galaxy, and they are smaller than our sun. Researchers working with Jonathan Swift, the lead author of the study as reported by Space.com, say that if every M dwarf star has but one planet, the galaxy would have at least 100 billion planets.
The question then becomes if any planets reside in the habitable zone around their stars, which is a virtual certainty. Beyond that, other minor factors come into play in determining if a planet is suitable for life as we know it.
While most planets would likely be uninhabitable for various reasons, let's say they formed too recently, are struck too frequently by comets and asteroids, or perhaps they spin too quickly; with 100 billion chances at least one should be habitable.
This has two key implications. One, is that there must certainly be other planets in the Milky Way capable of supporting human life, should we someday travel to them successfully for the purpose of colonization. The second is that these planets may themselves contain life, even possibly intelligent life.
Other astronomers have predicted that the first truly Earth-like planet will be discovered soon, maybe as early as this year. That means it will be a planet of similar mass to ours, as well as similar surface temperatures. Such a planet would warrant close investigation.
In reality, the study has probably yielded conservative results. The study is only of M-class dwarf stars, which while the majority, are not the only stars in the Milky Way. When all the stars of the galaxy are taken into consideration and the fact that many stars, no matter the class, have multiple planets, the 100 billion chances now rises by a multiple factor.
The size of that factor is unknown, but if you were a gambler wagering on the likelihood of there being another Earth-like planet, you'd do well to bet on the planets.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Debate between scientists over details of evolution becomes heated
- DRAMATIC DEATH IN SPACE - Astronomers watch as an entire galaxy bleeds to death before their eyes
- Duck and Cover! Asteroid 2014 DX110 will buzz Earth today and you can watch it happen!
- 330-foot long aircraft hailed the largest in the world
- GIBBERISH! More than 100 articles in scientific journals found to balderdash
- New super pill could prolong human longevity
- Vintage cheese - found on the chests of 3,500-year-old mummies!
- Boeing producing 'BLACK' a super-spy phone worthy of James Bond
- Why the Kepler planet discovery changes ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?