Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Extra Solar Planets Discovered

We are often told that our planet is unique and that the odds of intelligent life existing on another planet so remote as to be nearly impossible.  Well, the odds are getting better:

Scientists celebrated Sunday after finding more than 700 suspected new planets -- including up to 140 similar in size to Earth -- in just six weeks of using a powerful new space observatory.

But, it gets better:

“The figures suggest our galaxy, the Milky Way [which has more than 100 billion stars] will contain 100 million habitable planets, and soon we will be identifying the first of them,” said Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a scientist on the Kepler Mission. "There is a lot more work we need to do with this, but the statistical result is loud and clear, and it is that planets like our own Earth are out there."

Wikipedia keeps a list of extrasolar planets that's pretty staggering in itself, but it's only a list of the planets that have been confirmed - there are many more that just haven't been adequately studied, yet, because there are only so many telescopes.  We may find that we are not so unique after all - and not so alone.

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