Most Stars in Universe Host Alien Planets: Scientists Find

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By Parismita Goswami | March 5, 2014 5:46 PM EST

A majority of stars in our Milky Way galaxy have planets, which may have the capability of supporting life, according to a new study.

Astronomers have identified eight new exoplanets circling red dwarf stars that makes up to about 75 percent of the Milky Way's 100 billion stars or so.

This new findings indicate that almost all red dwarfs in the Milky Way have planets.

"We are clearly probing a highly abundant population of low-mass planets, and can readily expect to find many more in the near future - even around the very closest stars to the sun," LiveScience quoted Mikko Tuomi, of the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom and the lead author of the study. 

Tuomi and colleagues used two instruments- the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) and the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) and combined their data to spot the exoplanets. Both the instruments are controlled by the European Southern Observatory, Chile.

"We were looking at the data from UVES alone, and noticed some variability that could not be explained by random noise by combining those with data from HARPS, we managed to spot this spectacular haul of planet candidates." Tuomi added. 

The eight newly found planets revolve around the stars that are located between 15 and 80 light-years away from the planet Earth, according to researchers. The new findings strengthen the observations by NASA's Kepler space telescope that hunts for alien's world far away from the Earth.

"This result is somewhat expected in the sense that studies of distant red dwarfs with the Kepler mission indicate a significant population of small-radius planets. So it is pleasing to be able to confirm this result with a sample of stars that are among the brightest in their class." said co-author of the study Hugh Jones from University of Hertfordshire.

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(Photo: NASA / )
Most Stars in the Universe Host Alien Planets
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