Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The New York Times was unclear which galaxy contains billions of potentially habitable planets

Galaxy contains billions of potentially habitable planets, say Berkeley, Hawaii astronomers

"Astronomers reported that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-size planets in the galaxy, based on a new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft," The New York Times is reporting, adding, "One out of every five sunlike stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold — where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, according to a herculean three-year calculation based on data from the Kepler spacecraft by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley."

Three other weird things about The New York Times article is that it kept referring to "galaxy," when I think that they really mean "universe." Each time they refer to "galaxy," I could not figure out which "galaxy" within the "universe" they meant. Did anybody figure out which "galaxy" the reporter meant ?

Also, it is not explained why the scientific study cited in the article required that the habitable planets being search had to be approximately the size of our planet, earth ? Wouldn't it not matter what size a planet was, so long as the planet had water, breathable air, sufficient atmospheric pressure, and gravity to make life possible ?

What kind of "life" were astronomers thinking that they would find : life that would identically resemble human life ?

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