Researchers studying exoplanet data suggest that there may be at least 300 million potentially livable planets in the Milky Way, a new study has been published. Scientists have found that about half of the milky milky sun-like stars may be home to Earth-like planets. Researchers have long believed that the best chance of finding life beyond Earth is to find planets similar to Earth’s.
The best way to find Earth-like planets is to look for sun-like stars. The researchers made a new analysis of data collected by NASA’s Capeler Space Telescope, which ran from 2009 to 2018.
Using these data, they made new estimates of how many stars in the Milky Way are similar to the sun in temperature and age, further determining how many of these stars are likely to have rocky planets orbiting them in the star’s livable zone. Current estimates suggest that there are 4.1 billion sun-like stars in the Milky Way, and studies suggest that at least 300 million of them have at least one planet orbiting them.
Data show that one out of every two sun-like stars may have livable planets, suggesting that there could be as many as 2 billion or more livable planets in the Milky Way. According to less conservative projections, there could be as many as 3.6 billion habitable planets.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed, but is likely to be reviewed and published in the Astronomical Journal. Adam Frank, an astronomer at the University of Rochester who was not involved in the study, said it appeared to be a very cautious study.