Sized Worlds

Artists impression of a distant solar system. Credit: ESO

A five-year survey of nearby solar-mass stars has provided astronomers with an estimate of how many stars of this type could have Earth-size planets. Andrew Howard and Geoffrey Marcy from the University of California Berkeley studied 166 G and K stars within 80 light-years of Earth, determining the number, mass and orbital distance of any of the stars’ planets. Since Earth-sized worlds have not yet been found, they extrapolated the number of that size of planets, based on the fraction of stars that host Neptune to super-Earth sized planets. Their findings are encouraging, since it means planets the size of Neptune and smaller are probably much more common than gas-giant planets, like Jupiter. But what they found also conflict with current models of planet formation and migration.

(…) Read the rest of 25% of Sun-Like Stars Could Host Earth-Sized Worlds (649 words)

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(C) nancy for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | 9 comments | Add to del.icio.us Post

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