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Friday, January 13, 2012

About 100 Billion Of Planets Fill the Milky Way

Artists of planets in Milky Way
Artists of planets in Milky Way (NASA)
Mystery of how big the Milky Way galaxy is unresolved. Some effort has also been done. The issue, because the earth is in the Milky Way, then knowing the size of the Milky Way becomes very difficult. However, research conducted by an international team of astronomers and Stephen Kane (NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.), reveals at least 100 billion planets fill the Milky Way.

Despite extensive efforts to know of the Milky Way is still mysterious, but the results of this study simply describes how big Milky Way. Revealed that there are at least 1500 of the planets that lies around 50 light years from Earth. Means, every star in the Milky Way has at least one planet.

If at least there are 100 billion the planets, then at least there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Means, the possibility of the Milky Way galaxy has a mass more than 100 billion times the mass of the sun. Where most of its mass is distributed in the middle.

The study is based on observations taken over six years by the PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork) collaboration, using a technique called microlensing to survey the galaxy for planets. In this technique, one star acts like a magnifying lens to brighten the light from a background star. If planets are orbiting the foreground star, the background star's light will further brighten, revealing the presence of a planet that is otherwise too faint to be seen.

The study also concludes that there are far more Earth-sized planets than bloated Jupiter-sized worlds. A rough estimate from this survey would point to the existence of more than 10 billion terrestrial planets across our galaxy.

"Results from the three main techniques of planet detection, including microlensing, are rapidly converging to a common result: Not only are planets common in the galaxy, but there are more small planets than large ones," said Stephen Kane, a co-author from NASA's Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech. "This is encouraging news for investigations into habitable planets."

Source: NASA

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