Life Elsewhere in a 'Crowded' Universe?
(Top Posts - Science - 061808)

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Technically, no, most of the universe consists of
dark energy (70 percent) and dark matter (25-26
percent) and sparse matter, and the amount of
space without stars and planets far exceeds the
relatively minute space with stars and planets.

But, as for stars with planets, the term 'crowded'
is used in the following to describe the latest dis-
coveries of planets which a couple of scientists
view as increasing the likelihood that life and
planets are likely widespread in the particular
universe we happen to inhabit an itsy-bitsy tiny
part of, relatively speaking:

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June 16, 2008

Trio of Super-Earths
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European astronomers have announced a remarkable
breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets. ... they
have found a triple system of super-Earths around the
star HD 40307.


"With the advent of much more precise instruments ... 
we can now discover smaller planets, with masses
between 2 and 10 times the Earth's mass," ... Such
planets are called super-Earths, as they are more
massive than the Earth but less massive than Uranus
and Neptune (about 15 Earth masses).

The group of astronomers have now discovered a
system of three super-Earths around a rather normal
star, which is slightly less massive than our Sun, and
is located 42 light-years away

Scientists are more interested in the broader implica-
tions of the finding: The universe is teeming with far
more planets than thought.

Using a new tool to study more than 100 stars once
thought to be devoid of planets, the Swiss-French
team found that about one-third had planets that are
only slightly bigger than Earth.


"It is most probable that there are many other planets

present: not only super-Earth and Neptune-like planets
with longer periods, but also Earth-like planets that we
cannot detect yet. Add to it the Jupiter-like planets al-
ready known, and you may well arrive at the conclusion
that planets are ubiquitous."


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Some previous posts related to this topic:

OT -- All That Is, All That Was, All That
Ever Will Be (February 20, 2008)

OT -- Astronomers Find a Billion Light-
Years Without Matter (August 24, 2007)

OT -- NASA turns to the dark side
(July 4, 2007)

OT -- Nearby Frontrunners for Life
apart from Earth (February 24, 2007)

The Vast-beyond-Vast Size of the Universe
July 23, 2003

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