Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets – planets orbiting stars outside our solar system – in our Milky Way galaxy. By analyzing these planetary systems, researchers have calculated that billions of the stars in the Milky Way have one to three planets in the habitable zone, where there is the potential for liquid water and where life could exist. The study appears in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society today (March 18, 2015).
Using NASA’s Kepler satellite, astronomers have found about 1,000 planets around stars in the Milky Way and they have also found about 3,000 other potential planets. Many of the stars have planetary systems with two to six planets, but the stars could have more planets than those observable with the...
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