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Billions Of Habitable Planets Within Our Galaxy, Astronomers Conclude

Milky Way arch

If the universe is incomprehensible to you, this might make it a little more astonishing.

A study conducted by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has concluded that there are billions of planets within potentially habitable zones around stars similar to our sun (red dwarf stars) in our own Milky Way galaxy alone.

They have also discovered about 100 “Super Earth” planets with masses between one and 10 times the mass of the Earth, orbiting stars as close as 30 light-years away. That sounds far, but in the scale of the entire universe, they’re practically our next door neighbors.

The astronomers used a HARPS spectrograph and 3.6-meter telescope in Chile to measure slight changes in light coming from planets as they orbit their suns. This technique allowed ESO to conclude that planets are vast and plentiful in the Milky Way, and about 40% of all red dwarf stars have a “Super Earth” orbiting them. There are about 160 billion red dwarf stars in the Milky Way, meaning there could be tens of billions of other planets just in our galaxy.

I’ve always wondered how anyone could possibly think the Earth, which is basically a tiny pin prick within the universe, could be the only area inhabited by life. It’s enough to get your mind going in circles.

Could there another species similar to humans out there? Do the “humans” kill the other life forms and slap them on a grill for dinner? Do they have political structures, deities, stores that sell fabrics to drape over their bodies? It’s often difficult to comprehend how life works in other countries, let alone on a different planet. Hopefully one day ‘we’ will get a closer glimpse.

via Science Daily
Image CC licensed by European Space Observatory, Author: Bruno Gilli

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Reader

    “Dieties”? Really?

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Typo squeaked through. Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.