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ISS Timelapse featuring the Aurora Australis, the Milky Way and random satellites. Courtesy: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Billions of stars in our galaxy could have planets capable of supporting life


Rodrigo Cokting
Staff writer

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 10:52 - In the end, we might not be alone.

Astronomers now report that billions of stars in our galaxy have planets orbiting in the "habitable zone"—the name given to the region around a star in which liquid water is possible.

"The calculations show that billions of the stars in the Milky Way will have one to three planets in the habitable zone, where there is the potential for liquid water and where life could exist," the Niels Bohr Institute said in a statement.

The green area is what's known as the habitable area where liquid water is possible

The green area is what's known as the habitable area where liquid water is possible


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NASA's Kepler space telescope provided the data used to extrapolate the information. It has already been able to confirm 1,000 planets with another 3,000 possible.

But according to experts, there could be even more that are invisible to the modern telescope. Using an updated version of the Titius-Bode law, astronomers were able to theorize that billions of stars in the Milky Way with habitable of planets were out there, capable of hosting different life forms.

"According to the statistics and the indications we have, a good share of the planets in the habitable zone will be solid planets where there might be liquid water and where life could exist," said Steffen Jacobson of the Niels Bohr Insititute to Yahoo News.

Bigger than we thought

While the size of our galaxy is already nearly-unimaginable for many, the Milky Way just got a lot bigger.

In fact, it's actually 50 per cent bigger than we once thought.

"In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn't just a disk of stars in a flat plane—it's corrugated," said Professor Heidi Newberg said in a statement. "As it radiates outward from the sun, we see at least four ripples in the disk of the Milky Way."

Source: Yahoo News

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