More Than 100 Billion Alien Planets In Milky Way, Says New Study
There are more than 100 billion alien planets in the Milky Way.
A new study of the five-planet system Kepler-32 has led researchers to believe that the Milky Way is full of alien planets. Jonathan Swift, the lead author of the study, said that nearly every M dwarf star has at least one planet.
Swift said, “It’s a staggering number, if you think about it … Basically there’s one of these planets per star.”
The researchers used the NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to study the planetary system that lies 915 light-years from earth. The researchers were able to take small dips in light as one of the exoplanets crossed in front of the star. Swift and his team said that the planets surrounding Kepler-32 are similar to the planets surrounding other M dwarf stars in the Milky Way.
John Johnson, a co-author of the study, told Space.com:
“I usually try not to call things ‘Rosetta stones,’ but this is as close to a Rosetta stone as anything I’ve seen. It’s like unlocking a language that we’re trying to understand — the language of planet formation.”
MSNBC reports that an M dwarf, which is smaller than our sun, is the most numerous star in our galaxy. If every M dwarf star has at least one planet, that means that there are more than 100 billion alien planets in the Milky Way.
The new study lends weight to a prediction made by Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico. Mendez predicted last month that the first “alien earth” would be discovered in 2013.