Space

How many planets in the universe are similar to ours?

The sun is one of countless starsscattered in the universe. Despite the fact that our star is not particularly large in size, the brightness of flashes and is located almost on the very edge of the Milky Way galaxy, it is unique in that it was able to shelter a huge variety of life on our planet. If so, what if the stars, similar to the Sun, also have such an amazing property as maintaining life? And if so, how many are there in the universe?

What is the Kepler telescope for?

Scientists and science fiction writers have always been interestedthe opportunity to find such worlds in the Universe that were at least a bit like the Earth. In order to fulfill the dream of exoplanets, back in 2009, a whole space observatory was launched into near-Earth space, which they decided to name in honor of the famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion.

Kepler became the first telescope in historyhumanity, which was designed purposefully to study planets outside the solar system. Over the 10 years of its work, this unique invention has managed to find more than 5,000 objects, some of which turned out to be land-like. So, Kepler-452b, which revolves around a Sun-like star in the habitable zone, is one of the most Earth-like objects on which life is very likely.

The era has come to an end: the Kepler space telescope officially completed its work

How to find a planet through a telescope?

So that you can read about newexoplanets on our channel in Yandex.Zen, Kepler, until 2018, daily monitored the entire universe visible from Earth’s orbit using the so-called “transit method”. The essence of the method is that the telescope daily observed the stars lying in its visibility zone in order to see a small dark spot passing through the disk of a distant star. Each such spot found meant only one thing - “Kepler” was able to find a new potential exoplanet.

Despite its advancement, Kepler couldmake mistakes when searching for exoplanets. Due to the fact that finding a large planet near your star is much easier than finding a small planet at a relatively remote distance from the star, scientists believe that the telescope might simply not have noticed many potential worlds.

In order to overcome such a mistake,the researchers developed a new method for determining the frequency of occurrence of planets in a wide range of sizes and orbital distances. The new method models the “universes” of stars and planets, and then “watches” these simulated universes to determine how many planets Kepler would discover in each of the “virtual worlds”.

A similar technique could help researchers reconsider previously obtained data and become decisive in assessing the number of earth-like planets that fit the habitability criterion.

How many planets around the stars?

Although the Kepler mission discovered thousands of smallplanets, most of them are so far away that it is difficult for astronomers to find out details about their composition and atmospheres. At the same time, based on approximate modeling, the researchers calculated that planets that are close to the Earth in size and mass, with orbital periods from 237 to 500 days, exist next to one of four stars. If we take into account that on average each of the stars has about 3 planets, then we can assume that our galaxy contains a huge number of still unexplored worlds.

In any case, the search for evidence of existencelife in alien star systems will require a new space mission. In the meantime, we can only wait for the launch into orbit of “James Webb”, which can open the veil of secrecy of distant exoplanets.