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There could be up to 6 Billion planets just like Earth that can host life in the Universe

sciencealert: There’s only one planet we know of in the entire Universe that’s capable of hosting life. That’s Earth. So, when we search for exoplanets that might host life, it’s pretty much what we look for: a rocky exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star at a distance that is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water on the surface.

To try to figure out the probability of life elsewhere in the Milky Way, one has to start with a reasonable estimate of how many exoplanets are out there that fit such a bill.

Now, with years of exoplanet-hunting data in the bag, astronomers have made a new calculation and determined there could be as many as 6 billion Earth-like planets orbiting Sun-like stars in the Milky Way.

“My calculations place an upper limit of 0.18 Earth-like planets per G-type star,” said astronomer Michelle Kunimoto from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. (You may remember that Kunimoto discovered a whopping 17 exoplanets in Kepler data quite recently.)

“Estimating how common different kinds of planets are around different stars can provide important constraints on planet formation and evolution theories, and help optimise future missions dedicated to finding exoplanets.”

As our technology improves, the number of planets outside the Solar System we’ve found has increased in leaps and bounds. To date, we’ve confirmed 4,164 exoplanets, and the number keeps on growing.

But that’s just a drop in the ocean compared to how many planets could be out there. There’s an estimated 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, approximately 7 percent of which are like our Sun: G-type main-sequence stars.

However, most of the exoplanets we’ve found to date are large gas or ice giants, like Jupiter or Neptune. Because it’s incredibly hard for us to directly see planets over the very great distances involved, we look at the effects they have on their stars. Smaller, rocky planets like Earth and Mars are harder to find because their effects are much smaller, with a much lower signal-to-noise ratio.

So it’s fairly plausible that there are a lot more Earth-like exoplanets in our galaxy than we’ve spotted so far. To accommodate these missing planets, the team used a technique known as forward modelling to simulate data based on the model’s parameters, applying it to a catalogue of 200,000 stars studied by the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft that operated from 2009 to 2018.

“I started by simulating the full population of exoplanets around the stars Kepler searched,” Kunimoto said.

“I marked each planet as ‘detected’ or ‘missed’ depending on how likely it was my planet search algorithm would have found them. Then, I compared the detected planets to my actual catalogue of planets. If the simulation produced a close match, then the initial population was likely a good representation of the actual population of planets orbiting those stars.”

From this approach, Kunimoto and her UBC colleague, astronomer Jaymie Matthews, could estimate the number of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way. They defined these as between 0.75 and 1.5 times the mass of Earth, orbiting a G-type star at a distance between 0.99 and 1.7 astronomical units (AU, the distance between Earth and the Sun).

At the upper limit of the estimate of G-type stars in the galaxy – a figure that is also very hard to pin down – these calculations returned a maximum of 6 billion of such exoplanets.

The real number, of course, could be much smaller. And there’s no guarantee that these planets will have life, or are even habitable; after all, Mars is 1.5 astronomical units from the Sun, and it’s so empty of life there aren’t even any tumbleweeds.

But the number gives a new tool to work with, both in our search for this class of planets, and for understanding our own existence in this big old chunk of space.

Source: Published by sciencealert

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Udeh Dinobi Stanley
Udeh Dinobi Stanley
3 months ago

Science and with its mystery…
Its nice to know

Oghenekome Sylvester
Oghenekome Sylvester
3 months ago

These are just assumptions. Keep working, we need proof

Hassan faruuq opeyemi
Hassan faruuq opeyemi
3 months ago

Wonderful, technology had changed alot of things not left out planet.

Godwin
Godwin
3 months ago

It’s amazing discovery

Obiezu Emmanuel Onyedikachi
Obiezu Emmanuel Onyedikachi
3 months ago

Its nice to hear

Omenogor Lucky
Omenogor Lucky
3 months ago

That’s really nice to know

reuben amicable
reuben amicable
3 months ago

God is amazing, scientists keep on discovering there are a lot things u didn’t know yet God is really wonderful

Dimude chinonso johnbosco
Dimude chinonso johnbosco
3 months ago

Science with there mystery words. The universe can never be fully understood

Adamu Ibrahim
Adamu Ibrahim
3 months ago

good discovery

Samuel Olugbemi
Samuel Olugbemi
3 months ago

Wow you people did great science for focus 🕵️🕵️

UzomaComfort
UzomaComfort
3 months ago

Science and discoveries with proof are good in a way

Okwu Godswill okechukwu
Okwu Godswill okechukwu
3 months ago

Interesting news

Ekerette Effiong Isonguyo
Ekerette Effiong Isonguyo
3 months ago

Amazing discover

Chiemerie nnam
Chiemerie nnam
3 months ago

That is a nice update

adubi oluwafemi samuel
adubi oluwafemi samuel
3 months ago

Proof is needed nice one

Jonah Ihotuowoicho Sunday
Jonah Ihotuowoicho Sunday
3 months ago

Nice discovery

Suleiman Abdullahi
Suleiman Abdullahi
3 months ago

I disagree with this

Adepoju oluwapelumi
Adepoju oluwapelumi
3 months ago

Thanks for your update

Nnamdi Nwabueze
Nnamdi Nwabueze
3 months ago

These are mere assumptions, it has not been confirmed.

Abbas ahmed
Abbas ahmed
3 months ago

Science, i presume its just a mystery

Adewole olatunde samuel
Adewole olatunde samuel
3 months ago

It nice to know dis

Chiemela chidiebube faith
Chiemela chidiebube faith
3 months ago

Interesting

Matthew chinedu
Matthew chinedu
3 months ago

it’s really nice to hear

Peace Jackson
Peace Jackson
3 months ago

Proof it first

Mohammed Nma madiwu
Mohammed Nma madiwu
3 months ago

Nice update

Bright John
Bright John
3 months ago

Wow this very good

Chisom Charles
Chisom Charles
3 months ago

Interesting science an technology

Balogun Toba
Balogun Toba
3 months ago

H m m

Juliet Success
Juliet Success
3 months ago

This is an amazing discovery, though without proof.

Biobaku Toheeb Olamilekan
Biobaku Toheeb Olamilekan
3 months ago

nice update

Muhammed Hammed
Muhammed Hammed
3 months ago

it’s really nice to hear

Akinrinade Akinniyi
Akinrinade Akinniyi
3 months ago

Only God knows the truth about planet

FOLORUNSHO Aishat oyindamola
FOLORUNSHO Aishat oyindamola
3 months ago

Wow!! Science and discoveries with good proof

Ajayi akinniyi
Ajayi akinniyi
3 months ago

Research from scientist

Nwachukwu ogechi
Nwachukwu ogechi
3 months ago

Amazing information

Ajagu Joseph Samson
Ajagu Joseph Samson
3 months ago

Thanks for the information

Christopher Ege
Christopher Ege
3 months ago

Wow!! This is very nice

Afolabi Michael Temitope
Afolabi Michael Temitope
3 months ago

Life and mystery. Science and discovery. Good info.

Oladosu Olumide
Oladosu Olumide
3 months ago

Amazing

Ndumnwere Chima
Ndumnwere Chima
3 months ago

Nice update.

Stephen Anyishi Monday
Stephen Anyishi Monday
3 months ago

Is it just me or does this sound kinda scary

Ubochioma Joshua Izuchukwu
Ubochioma Joshua Izuchukwu
3 months ago

Wow

Emmanuel Aso otisi
Emmanuel Aso otisi
3 months ago

If true will be a great

Nlemadim chinedunice
Nlemadim chinedunice
3 months ago

Nice update

Uche chinedu
Uche chinedu
2 months ago

Science and their new mystery

Uche chinedu
Uche chinedu
2 months ago

What I like about science is that they bring out new things everyday

Godwin osuya
Godwin osuya
2 months ago

Its a nice discovery & its great to know, I think they should keep working soon they will get to understand the universe better

Faith Osaghae
Faith Osaghae
2 months ago

If these planets are habitable and cost of sojourning there is considerable the poor man’s pocket, I think I will make it a choice rather than this corrupted earth

Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
2 months ago

Nice scientific research for humans to take note of

Onyemechi Francis uche
Onyemechi Francis uche
2 months ago

Science with there mystery