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

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read