A University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer, along with colleagues from UC Berkeley, have found that Earth-size planets are more common than previously thought. According to this most recent study, 17 percent of all sun-like stars have planets one to two times the diameter of Earth in close orbits.
Scientists had previously found that planets around stars are common, but until now it hadn’t been clear if this applied to Earth-size planets specifically.
According to current UH Manoa Institute for Astronomy faculty member Andrew Howard, one of the team members, this could mean that the lack of Earth-size planets within the orbit of Mercury is unusual. “Maybe our solar system is an anomaly compared to the great variety of stars,” he noted.
Mauna Kea’s Keck I Telescope was used in this study, in addition to the Kepler space telescope.