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Study Suggests That Earth Like Planets May Be More Common

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posted on Sep, 7 2006 @ 09:30 PM
To date most planets found have been large gas giants. It is the way these large gas giants might have formed is what is bringing this new theory to light. A gas giant in an orbit that is also littered with ice and rock debris will create a disturbance. Some will be sucked into the gas giant but some will also be scattered. The debris that is scattered may stay in the solar system which over time could form into a planet. To possibly be a planet like our own it will need to be in a habitable zone of the solar system. The habitable zone is the distance from the sun where water will remain in liquid form. About one-third of the solar systems found with planets may also have earth like planets.
"There is certainly scattering, but one of the things people did not take into account was the dense gas in these protoplanetary discs," said co-author Avi Mandell, from Pennsylvania State University, US.

"This gas provides the force that migrates the giant planets inwards but it also damps down the scattering and ejection of particles allowing them to stay caught in the orbit of the star.

"They stay in rather chaotic and often wide orbits; but usually if they remain in the system for millions of years, they settle down and return to a circular orbit where they can merge with other bodies and turn into full planets."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Since we have had successful space flight we have been wondering and asking the question "are we alone?" So far this is just a theory. Some theories blossom in acceptance from the scientific community, and some do not. However the article does say that a rocky planet has been discovered orbiting near the gas giant, which would be inside the hot zone of the solar system. So perhaps this theory will gain acceptance, and if it does and more planets are found, perhaps we will have a greater possibility to answer the question "are we alone?"

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[edit on 7-9-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]

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