Author Archives: vlad

How many planets are in the Milky Way? Over 50 billion

Yes, you’ve read that right. There are over 50 billion planets in our galaxy alone, according to the Kepler telescope, scientists now estimate that not only there are over 500 bilion planets in the galaxy, but that there are over 500 million life-cable planets out there as well.

These numbers obviously come from Nasa’s own database created by the Kepler telescope. The only telescope that was launched in space specifically for the discovery of planets in our own little slice of (intergalactic) heaven. The estimates come from counting how many planets have passed through Kepler’s view so far and extrapolating that number to the full size of the galaxy. As of now, Kepler has found no more than 1355 objects that have high chances to be planets and 54 of these are in the so called “Goldilocks’ zone or in a close enough orbit to a star to be perfect for sustaining life, a region that is neither too hot nor too cold.

If we do the math on this (which is exactly what the scientists did), since half of the stars have planets and that 1 star out of 200 has at least a planet in the Goldilocks zone,we draw the conclusion that there are over 300 billion stars in our very own galaxy, which may be only one of 100 billion galaxies that the old and trusty Big Bang created.

Life on other planets suddenly doesn’t appear all that imposibile, does it?

An interesting fact: Male fertility is in the bones

The researchers of the Columbia University Medical Center discovered a nice revealed a nice little nugget of information that will probably astonish most of our male (and probably female) readers. The male fertility is determined partially by the bones.

How exactly does this work and how does this effect us? Well, they’ve discovered that the skeleton in male mice acts as a regulator through a hormone released by bone, known as osteocalcin.

Until recently, the only interactions that we were aware of between the bone and the reproductive system was focused in a huge part on the influence of gonads on the build-up of bone mass.

What’s stunning however, is that although this exchange between the bone and the rate of fertility was mainly based on estrogen, researchers did not find any effect on females. When asked why, they did not elaborate on this.

“We do not know why the skeleton regulates male fertility, and not female. However, if you want to propagate the species, it’s probably easier to do this by facilitating the reproductive ability of males,”

“This is the only rationale I can think of to explain why osteocalcin regulates reproduction in male and not in female mice.” said Dr. Karsenty.

In simpler words, the researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center have no idea why this doesn’t effect females, but I suddenly feel the urge to keep my bones healthy. After all, the DNA in rats is surprisingly similar to ours.