Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Discovery Suggests Earth-like Planets 'Very Common'

Forty-two light years away, circling a star slightly smaller than our own, European researchers have found three "super-Earths," reports Reuters. The planets are 4.2, 6.7 and 9.4-times the size of earth, and they're moving a lot faster than we are. Their solar orbits range from four to 20 days.

Fast orbits seem to be common out there. About a third of all solar systems with stars like our own have Earth or Neptune-like planets with orbits shorter than 50 days.

The recent discoveries have raised some interesting questions. "Does every single star harbor planets and, if yes, how many?" asked one scientist. And if we found three earth-like planets around one star, how common could planets like ours be? Researchers say their findings "suggest that Earth-like planets may be very common."

The number of exoplanets we've discovered stands at 270.

Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.