Thanks to new research using data from the Kepler space telescope, it is estimated that there may be up to 300 million habitable planets in our galaxy. Some may even be quite close, some as likely as 30 light years from our Sun. The findings will be published in Astronomical Journaland the research is a collaboration of scientists from NASA, SETI Institute and other organizations around the world.
Co-author Jeff Coughlin, exoplanet researcher at SETI Institute and Director Kepler̵7;s, said: “This is the first time all pieces have come together to provide a reliable measurement of the habitable planets in the galaxy. Science Office. “This is a key term for the Drake Equation, which is used to estimate the number of civilizations that can spread – we go one step further on the long road to find out if we are alone. in the universe or not. “
The Drake equation is a probabilistic argument detailing the factors to consider when estimating the potential number of technologically advanced civilizations in the galaxy that can be discovered. The Drake equation is also commonly considered a roadmap for astronomy and guides most of the research at the SETI Institute.
To make a reasonable estimate, the researchers looked at exoplanets that are similar in size to Earth and therefore most likely rocky planets. They also looked at stars that resemble the Sun, are the same age as our Sun, and have the same temperature. Another viability consideration is whether the planet may have the conditions needed to support liquid water.
Previous estimates for determining the number of habitable alien planets in our galaxy have mainly been based on the planet’s distance from its star. This new study also looks at the amount of light hitting the planet from its star, which will affect the planet’s ability to support liquid water. To do this, the team not only looked at Kepler’s data, but also looked at data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission about the energy level emitted by the planet’s star.
By taking into account both the Kepler and Gaia data, the results better reflect the diversity of stars, solar systems and exoplanets in our galaxy.
Co-author Michelle Kunimoto, who worked on this article after completing her doctorate in the occurrence rate of alien planets at the University of British Columbia, said: “Know the different types of planets. Popularity is extremely valuable for the design of upcoming alien search missions. and recently joined the Exoplanet Survey Satellite group, or TESS, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Surveys targeting small, potentially habitable planets around stars like the Sun will depend on results like these to maximize their chances of success.”
More research will be needed to understand the role of a planet’s atmosphere in its ability to support liquid water. In this analysis, the researchers used a conservative estimate of the effect of the atmosphere to estimate the appearance of Sun-like stars with rocky planets that may contain liquid water.
The Kepler mission, which officially stopped collecting data in 2018, has identified more than 2,800 confirmed exoplanets, with thousands of other candidates awaiting confirmation. To date, researchers have identified several hundred planets in their star’s habitable zone in the Kepler data. It might take a while to find all 300 million!
According to new estimates, there are six billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy
Steve Bryson et al., Appearance of Rocky Habitable Planets around Sun-like Stars from Kepler Data, Astronomical Journal, arXiv: 2010.14812v1, arxiv.org/abs/2010.14812
Provided by the SETI Institute
Quote: How many habitable planets are there? (2020, October 29) retrieved October 30, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-habitable-planets.html
This material is the subject for the fake rights. Apart from any fair dealings for academic or personal research purposes, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content provided is for informational purposes only.