17 billion Earth-size planets?

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Astronomers hunting for Earth-like planets now have many places to look. A new estimate released Monday suggested the Milky Way galaxy is home to at least 17 billion similar planets.

It doesn’t mean all are potentially habitable, but the sheer number of Earth-size planets is a welcome starting point in the search for worlds like our own.

Scientists have yet to find a twin Earth — one that’s not only the right size but also located in the so-called Goldilocks zone, a place that’s not too hot and not too cold where water might exist in liquid form.

Two independent groups came up with the new estimate after a fresh analysis of data gathered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which was launched in 2009. One team was from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; the other from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Hawaii.

More in Local News

Majority of Marysville City Council seats are contested

The most closely watched race is between Mark James and Donna Wright.

500 tires go up in flames at a store south of Everett

There were no injuries. And it was nowhere near as bad as that months-long tire fire in 1984.

Inclusion super important to Monroe High senior

Sarah Reeves worked to make homecoming more representative of the student population.

A pot deal between teens leaves them injured, facing charges

Police found out about the incident when both ended up at the same hospital that night.

Funds up for council vote would aid conservation district

District stands to receive an extra $1 million each year, if the County Council gives its approval.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Lake Stevens man injured by 50-foot fall near Leavenworth

The rescuers had to tie in to keep from falling due to the steep rugged terrain.

Lynnwood mayor challenged by councilman in general election

Three City Council members also are facing challengers on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Missing 6-year-old’s body found in trash bin near Lynnwood

Dayvid Pakko was mildly autistic. A suspect in his death is a relative, the sheriff’s office said.

Most Read