The BBC Science page has an article today on the recent spate of extra-solar planet discoveries.
I was most taken by this quote:
“Among the finds were at least four multiple-planetary systems. All of the planets were so-called gas giants, similar to Jupiter, with no solid surface.
‘Something like 10 to 15% of stars host gas giants,’ said Professor Tinney. ‘A larger fraction of stars may host planets too small for us to detect.’
These could include Earth-sized objects, which could harbour life.”
This is going to help zero in an another variable (perhaps even two) in the Drake Equation. Getting a better sense of those numbers helps us know what sort of likelihood there is to have someone out there in the galaxy to invite over for a cuppa.
Read the rest here: BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Planet hunters spy distant haul