Recent estimates are that 6 percent of red dwarfÂ stars in our galaxy should have Earth-sized worlds. Six percent! That means that our galaxy could potentially be overflowing with terrestrial planets.
Six percent may not sound like a lot, but red dwarfs are astonishingly populous. Approximately 75 percent of all stars are red dwarfs. Assuming that there are around 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, that means there should be over 13.5 billion exo-Earths orbiting the tiny red suns strewn across our galaxy.
Red dwarfs have always been a source of controversy for planet hunters and astrobiologists. Theyâ€™ve been frequently ignored in exoplanet searches, largely because theyâ€™re noisy little beasts that makes finding anything out about them rather taxing. That is, until Courtney Dressing and her colleagues looked at data from Kepler in an attempt to settle the arguments. As it happens, their study found that around 60 percent of red dwarfs should have planets smaller than Neptune, which means â€” as some astronomers have long suspected â€” these tiny stars are likely to be good hunting grounds for exoplanets.
So what exactly is the deal with red dwarfs? Are they good homes for life or not!!!