More than 100 billion planets like earth may be out there
New research done at the University of Auckland in New Zealand has led to a new method of identifying earth-like planets. The new technique is called gravitational microlensing (MOA – Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) and is based on Kepler data.
Dr Phil Yock says that Kepler detects planets that are close to their Suns and based on that an estimation of 17 billion such planets existing in the Milky Way. The way that this measurement takes place is to detect the loss of light from a star when the planet in question orbits between us and the star. Microlensing on the other hand measures the deflection of the light from the distant star when it passes through a planetary system en route to Earth.
With the new method suggested, they measure the earth size planets that orbit at a distance twice the distance of Earth from our Sun. Interpolating Kepler data with microlensing data, the number of Earth like habitable planets is expected to be around 100 billion.
You can read more here.