According to a recent research, 92 % of Earth-like planets in the universe aren’t born yet. Scientists explained that at the beginning of our solar system there were only eight percent of habitable planets in the universe, and many more are slated to be born long after the sun has burn itself out.
Scientists came up with this hypothesis after sifting through data on our solar system, Milky Way, and other galaxies gathered by ESA/NASA’ Hubble Space Telescope and the planet-hunter Kepler telescope.
Peter Behroozi, head of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, said that his team’s goal was rather ambitious: to understand where our planet stands in the broader context of the rest of the Universe. Behroozi added that the Earth is relatively young in comparison with other planets.
According to Hubble’s past data on galaxies, star formation across the universe did not happen at an even pace. The data revealed that when the universe was in its early days stars were created at a faster rate, despite low levels of hydrogen and helium gases at that time.
Nowadays, on the other hand, things changed. Stars and planets are created at a slower pace, but the clouds of helium and hydrogen are so dense that the process may last a very long time.
Molly Peeples, co-author of the study and STScI researcher, noted that there is enough material to support the birth of more planets in our galaxy and beyond.
Kepler data revealed that potentially habitable planets located within their stars’ habitable zones are quite many in our galaxy. Scientists estimate that there should be around 1 billion Earth-like planets throughout Milky Way. And that number grows indefinitely if you add 100 billion galaxies to the equation. Yet, this is only what we were able to observe with our instruments.
This means that more stars and planets are slated to be born until the last star fades out and researchers believe that 92 % of Earth-like planets in the universe aren’t born yet.
The team also said that more Earth-like planets should be born in dense galaxy clusters and dwarf galaxies which have a lot of material for star and planet formation. Milky Way on the other hand has consumed nearly all its gas required for planet formation.
Avi Loeb of the Harvard University who was not involved in the study described the findings as “noteworthy.” Loeb noted that scientists do not usually plunge into speculations and forecasts for the future of our universe. They stick with what they can measure in present. Nevertheless, he said the endeavor was “interesting.”
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