back to article Kiwi boffins bid up Earth-like planet prediction

We'll see your lousy 17 billion Earth-like planets, Smithsonian, and raise you 83 billion: that's the message coming out of a New Zealand group that's proposing a new detection technique in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The Japan-New Zealand collaboration proposes using gravitational micro-lensing in …


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  1. Charles Manning

    Beelion is Oz

    The pronunciation of 'i' of the differences between Oz and Kiwi:

    UK/ZAR: fish and chips,

    Kiwi: fush and chups,

    Oz: feesh and cheeps.

    1. LaeMing

      Re: Beelion is Oz

      Kiwi high-school exchange students at some point invariably get goaded into loudly stating: "Six is between five and seven".

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beelion is Oz

        I think you will find that 'sex' is Australian. Being from NZ, when I visit the UK I get endless requests asking what comes after five. When I reply 'six' the questioner always seems disappointed, especially if they were just nudging their mate.

        Never mind, folk in the UK think Australia and NZ are the same place anyhow.

        1. Martin Budden Silver badge

          Re: Beelion is Oz @ a/c 10:18 GMT

          I think you will find that pronouncing 'six' as 'sex' is German. Being in Oz, I can tell you that here it is 'six'.

          I once heard a Kiwi say 'bed head' and laughed out loud because it sounded like 'bid hid'.

          1. John 90

            Re: Beelion is Oz @ a/c 10:18 GMT

            A Kiwi once told me about her old bicycle, which had no gears and wouldn't free-wheel.

            "When I went down-hill, I couldn't stop piddling" I heard her say.

    2. frank ly

      Re: Beelion is Oz

      I thought UK was 'fash and chaps' and ZAR was 'fesh and cheps'. (I say 'fish and chips'.)

    3. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Beelion is Oz

      Differences in pronunciation have led to a fundamental misunderstanding. Obviously, what the Kiwi boffins actually estimated was the number of hobbitable (or Middle-Earth-like) planets.

      ... and anyone who has watched Bafana-Bafana knows it's pronounced "Feeeeeeeeesh".

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I wonder what this will do to the Drake equation.

    In the 1960s no one even knew if any other star had planes, let alone Earth mass and temperature.

    Now we seem to be closing in on an actual number

    That's pretty exciting. It also moves the debate from "Why leave the solar system, there's nowhere to go?" to "If we did leave the solar system, where should we go?"

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re:"If we did leave the solar system, where should we go?"

      And when they find a perfect planet, somebody is bound to say:

      Yeah, but you know how it is with travel destinations: they look all shiny in the brochure, but when you get there the landing strip is awful, the customs officers rude, the taxi driver rips you of and drives you to your hotel which hasn't even been built yet, the sand on the beach scorching hot, but the sea is freezing cold for some reason, and it's polluted, and the Germans have taken all the towels and deckchairs, the food is awful and the toilets wont flush, the next-door kids will making far too much noise and the disco next door means you can't sleep a wink!

      We might just as well stay at home or go to Southend-on-Sea

      Such people should be sent of on a B-Ark to a small blue-green planet at the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.

      Oh, hang on.....

    2. Steve Brooks

      Re: I wonder what this will do to the Drake equation.

      Don't care but if they DO have planes I am flying first class, don't want to sit to close to any methane breathing lifeforms, its bad enough here where we have to sit next to methane expelling life forms!

      1. Martin Budden Silver badge

        @ Steve Brooks

        Sit the methane breathing lifeform next to the methane expelling life form: problem solved.

    3. Crisp

      Re: "If we did leave the solar system, where should we go?"

      More importantly, "How are we getting there?"

      And even more importantly, will we have any booze left when we get there?

  3. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    How many stars have earthlike planets or moons?

    All of them, near enough as makes no difference.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: How many stars have earthlike planets or moons?

      Space: Size - Infinite, Population - Zero (Infinity divided by anything is Zero)

    2. Jim Wilkinson

      Re: How many stars have earthlike planets or moons?

      I agree. The formation of a star will inevitably leave loads of extra matter as dust/rocks etc. Gravity will ensure the extra matter coalesces into a stars satellites such as planets which may themselves have satellites as moons. So my guess is that most stars will have satellites by default. It's just that they're difficult to detect from our little outpost in the vastness of our own galaxy, let alone the universe.

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Its an interesting idea...

    To look outside of the Earth distance for Earth like planets is a very interesting idea as there are a lot of suns that are bigger than our planet (our sun is pretty middling on the solar scale), so if a planet is further away it might still be in the goldilocks zone (the goldilocks zone of that particular sun having moved further away from the sun due to the suns bigger energy output).

    Very cool idea... 100 billion earth-like planets. For me, I think that pretty much answers the question of whether other intelligent life exists in the universe...

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Its an interesting idea...

      A problem with bigger stars is that they burn up much more quickly. They also output much more UV. Besides, smaller stars are far more numerous, so it does not make much sense to go for the big ones

  5. Martin Budden Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    My calculator doesn't have enough zeros!

    100 billion earth-like planets in one galaxy, 170 billion galaxies in the observable* universe... wow that adds up to A LOT!!!

    *and what about all the rest of the universe that isn't observable?!

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