Wednesday already. Whattya know.
How Many Planets Are In The Universe? Lots. As in, lots and lots. Excerpt:
It wasn’t all that long ago — back when I was a boy — that the only planets we knew of were the ones in our own Solar System. The rocky planets, our four gas giants, and the moons, asteroids, comets, and kuiper belt objects (which was only Pluto and Charon at the time) were all that we knew of.
But these were just the worlds around our Sun, which houses (according to current definition) eight planets. Our Sun is just one of an estimated two-to-four hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and looking up towards the night sky, one can’t help but wonder how many of those stars have planets of their own, and what those worlds are like.
So how many? The linked article suggests 1024, which in plain terms translates into a grand total of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the observable universe. Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of potential places for critters (or plants, or bacteria, or
something we can’t imagine) to be inhabiting. If one planet in a million is even remotely habitable, the universe may well be teeming with life.
I’ve long harbored the suspicion that life arises pretty much anyplace that it’s physically possible to do so. Stories like this reinforce the idea that there are lots of such places.
So when do we get to go out there and take a look?