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January 03, 2013

“100 Billion!”

New Kepler Mission ‘Rosetta-Stone’ Discovery
Reveals Planetary Systems as the Cosmic Norm

“I usually try not to call things ‘Rosetta stones,’ but this is as close to a Rosetta stone as anything I’ve seen,” says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech. “It’s like unlocking a language that we’re trying to understand—the language of planet formation.” One of the fundamental questions regarding the origin of planets is how many of them there are. There’s at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy—just our galaxy,” says Johnson, coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. “That’s mind-boggling.”

Read more: "100 Billion!" New Kepler Mission 'Rosetta-Stone' Discovery Reveals Planetary Systems as the Cosmic Norm — daily galaxy.

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