astroengine writes: "Although there appears to be a mysterious dearth of exoplanets smaller than Earth, astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope have estimated that nearly a quarter of all sun-like stars in our galaxy play host to worlds 1-3 times the size of our planet. These astonishing results were discussed by Geoff Marcy, professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, during a talk the W. M. Keck Observatory 20th Anniversary Science Meeting at The Fairmont Orchid, Kohala Coast, Hawai’i, on Thursday. “23 percent of sun-like stars have a planet within (1-2.8 Earth radii) just within Mercury’s orbit,” said Marcy. “I’ll say that again, because that number really surprised me: 23 percent of sun-like stars have a nearly-Earth-sized planet orbiting in tight orbits within 0.25 AU of the host stars.”"
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