Friday, October 29, 2010

Astronomers estimate billions of Earth size planets

That's right I said billions. This from an article Dan brought me from the Washington Post (via the BDN) This bold number was based on an estimate by astronomers from the University of California at Berkeley, viewing a small section of sky over a four year period. The scientist posited that the number of smaller planets in a given area far outstrip that of big gas giants etc. Also the premise is that there is a strong likely-hood that at least a quarter of G class stars will have Earth size planets. In the absolutely staggering number of planets in the universe (present estimate is 5 with 22 zeros after it) a few billion of them being Earth class mass is still a small number, but still several magnitudes higher than previously thought.

That Earth mass planets are all but common may well play out when NASA's Kepler Mission begins operating early in 2011. Scientists in that project will be searching for Earth sized and possibly habitable planets.

Wiki on Kepler Mission

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