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100 Billion Earth-like Planets Could be Located with New Technique: Our World Gets Some Company

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Astronomers estimate that there could be as many as 100 billion Earth-like planets out in space--and now they have a way to find them. The gas cloud, Go.253+0.016, is positioned near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
(image by NASA)

Watch out, Earth. You have competition. Astronomers estimate that there could be as many as 100 billion Earth-like planets out in space - and now they have a way to find them. Researchers at the University of Auckland have proposed a new method for finding these planets. The technique, which is described in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, uses gravitational microlensing in order to locate the planets. Microlensing measures the deflection of light from a distant star that passes through a planetary system en route to Earth - an effect that was first predicted by Einstein in 1936. This technique can potentially allow scientists to detect planets that are around the size of Earth. In addition to the microlensing, the scientists also use data from the NASA Kepler space telescope. 'We anticipate a number in the order of 100 billion' of Earth-like planets.

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Royal Astronomical Society link: here.Full text: h... by Kyle McDermott on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 8:03:53 AM