Study: 8.8 billion Earth-sized just-right planets

Associated Press
This artist's rendition provided by NASA shows Kepler-69c, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star like our sun, located about 2,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Astronomers using NASA data calculate that in our galaxy alone there are at least 8.8 billion Earth-sized planets that are not too hot or not too cold circle stars that are just like our sun, according to a study published Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. For perspective, that’s far more Earth-like planets than there are people on Earth. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)
.

View photo

This artist's rendition provided by NASA shows Kepler-69c, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star like our sun, located about 2,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Astronomers using NASA data calculate that in our galaxy alone there are at least 8.8 billion Earth-sized planets that are not too hot or not too cold circle stars that are just like our sun, according to a study published Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. For perspective, that’s far more Earth-like planets than there are people on Earth. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Space may be vast, but it isn't that lonely. A new study finds that the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets like ours, circling stars just like our sun.

Astronomers using NASA data calculate that in our galaxy alone there are at least 8.8 billion stars like our sun with Earth-sized planets that are not too hot or not too cold.

They calculated that 22 percent — slightly more than 1 in 5 — of our sun-like stars have planets similar to Earth in size and temperature. Study co-author Geoff Marcy says that means billions of places for life to develop.

The study is based on data from NASA's now crippled Kepler space telescope. It appears Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

View Comments (10)