10 billion Earth-like planets may exist in our galaxy


29/03/2012

Around 40 per cent of red dwarfs can rotate the planet the size of Earth, the environmental conditions are suitable for life.

Red dwarfs are smaller and cooler than our sun. They make up 80% of the total number of stars in the galaxy. Such prevalence suggests the presence of tens of millions of possible locations of the existence of life, in addition to the Earth. At least 100 such planets have been discovered in our neighborhood.

This study was conducted by a team of astronomers using HARPS telescope of the European Southern Observatory. They studied a sample of 102 nearby red dwarf stars for a period of six years. They measured the characteristic wandering stars, which shows that the star is rotating at least one planet.

In the course of this project was found nine planets whose mass is within the range from one to ten earth masses, including two in the habitable area that allows them to assume the presence of water in liquid state. Because red dwarfs do not produce as much heat as our sun, their habitable zone is much closer to the star.

The larger planets the size of Jupiter, were found around less than 12 percent of red dwarfs. This suggests that they are less common than the so-called terrestrial planets.

Until recently, astronomers could only guess about the number of stars with planets around them. Now, after the discovery of more than 700 extrasolar planets, the researchers have good reason to sound the first real numbers.

According to the testimony of a previous study, a quarter of Sun-like stars have terrestrial planets.

They estimate that in the habitable zone around 40% of the total number of red dwarfs rotate sverhzemli. Temperature range of the habitable zone makes possible the existence of liquid water on the surface of the planet, which is one of the most important conditions for the origin of life.

Original: Wired


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