Civil Geeks: Exoplanetpalooza

kepler-k2-artist-concept-nasa-jpl

Astronomers in Hawaii play a critical role in the search for planets orbiting stars beyond our own solar system. My latest “Civil Geeks” column explores a recent sky survey that identified over 100 new exoplanets.

Although the existence of alien life will be hard to prove, it’s becoming increasingly probable.

“We already know, from work from this team and others, that probably more than half of stars have planets; and a pretty good fraction of these have planets in their habitable zones,” Gal said. “But we did not always suspect planetary systems were common — guesses ran from 1 percent to 100 percent of stars hosting planets.”

“Now we know the answer, and they are more common than I think most astronomers expected,” he said.

Read the full article: Finding New Planets with a ‘Broken’ Telescope

Photo courtesy NASA/JPL.

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