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Illustration of Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a far-off star in the habitable zone. (Photo: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)


Humans have actually long wonder if there were various other planets like earth where life can thrive. This age-old question started to resurface as much more and an ext exoplanets were discovered in recent years. Many thanks to a brand-new study, we have actually an idea of just how numerous planets can support life, and the number can shock you.

You are watching: How many habitable planets in the milky way


Using data from the now-retired Kepler room telescope, a team of researchers has approximated that there are around 300 million habitable planets just in the Milky Way. And also several could even be in our neighborhood. Therefore what renders a world habitable in the eye of astronomers? First, the planet demands to it is in rocky and also capable of sustaining liquid water top top the surface. And second, it demands to have a adjacent star the is the correct temperature. To be precise, this stars have to be a comparable temperature come the Sun, provide or take 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, a couple of exoplanets relatively close by fulfill the criteria. In fact, at least four are in ~ 30 light-years of our Sun, through the closest only 20 light-years away. That course, nothing is for certain, but this study helps us recognize what exoplanets have actually the potential to have actually the ideal ingredients to assistance life. The outcomes come about after the researchers carefully examined 4 years of research study from the Kepler space telescope.

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Illustration the the possible appearance the the earth Kepler-452b, the very first near-Earth-size civilization to be uncovered in the habitable zone the a star similar to ours Sun. (Photo: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)


“Kepler already told us there were billions the planets, but now we recognize a an excellent chunk the those planets might be rocky and also habitable,” says the lead writer Steve Bryson, a researcher in ~ NASA"s Ames Research facility in California"s Silicon Valley. “Though this result is much from a final value, and water ~ above a planet"s surface is just one of numerous factors to assistance life, it"s extremely interesting that us calculated these people are this usual with together high confidence and also precision.”

Until the ran the end of fuel and was retirement in 2018, the Kepler space telescope to be on a mission to discover out how many habitable planets exist in our galaxy. For this study, the details it gathered was linked with data indigenous the European space Agency"s Gaia mission. The Gaia mission detailed important information about how much power falls ~ above a world from its hold star, opened up a civilization of possibilities. In fact, taking into account the setting of this planets, they uncovered that about half of Sun-like stars have actually rocky planets qualified of hosting fluid water on their surfaces.


Before you start thinking the we"ll be jetting turn off to this exoplanets at any time soon, more work should be done to see if the researchers" predictions are correct. Still, it"s a big breakthrough for all those connected in trying come unravel the mysteries of the universe. “To me, this an outcome is an example of exactly how much we"ve been able to find just v that tiny glimpse past our solar system,” claimed Bryson. “What we watch is that our galaxy is a fascinating one, v fascinating worlds, and some that may not be too various from ours own.”

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Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist because that My contemporary Met, and also a curator and also art historian. Since 2020, she is additionally one the the co-hosts the the My contemporary Met peak Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance research studies from university College London and also now stays in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic save on computer by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. As soon as she’s no spending time v her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she writer the publication "Street Art stories Roma" and most recently added to "Crossroads: A Glimpse into the Life that Alice Pasquini". You deserve to follow her adventures virtual at