Saturday, 5 January 2013

100 billion alien planets

There are 100 billion alien planets in the Milky Way galaxy based on the estimates of a recent study. John Johnson, an assistant professor at Caltech in Pasadena, California said that “there are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy” and “that’s mind-boggling.” Caltech is reportedly the academic home of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The number was generated by a group of researchers after they conducted a five-planet system study called Kepler-32. These planets were reportedly 915 light-years away from Earth.

Kepler Space Telescope by NASA detected the five distant planets. The telescope “flags the tiny brightness dips caused when exoplanets cross their star’s face from the instrument’s perspective.”

The researchers further explained that planets at Kepler-32 orbit an M dwarf, a smaller and cooler type of star compared to the sun. About 75 percent of the stars in the galaxy are M dwarfs. The size of the five Kepler-32 planets can be compared to the Earth. The orbit of these planets were very close to their parent star.

According to lead researcher Jonathan Swift, It’s a staggering number, if you think about it. Basically there’s one of these planets per star. Results of the study only include the analysis of “planets orbiting close to M dwarfs and did not include outer planets in M-dwarf systems.”

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