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We may think of our Sun as being typical and on the relatively dim side, since a disproportionate number of stars visible to our eyes in the night sky are O, B, and A-class stars.

But in reality, the Sun is more massive and intrinsically brighter than 95% of stars in our galaxy.

That’s a naïve estimate that we’d make in the absence of evidence.

And remember, our galaxy isn’t alone in the Universe.In other words, there are: You may have read this week that there are at least 100-to-200 billion planets in our Milky Way, and that’s true, but that’s not an estimate; that’s a lower limit.If you instead were to make an estimate, you’d get a number that’s at least one (and more like two, if you’re willing to make inferences about outer planets) orders of magnitude higher: closer to ten trillion planets in our galaxy, alone!So this means that if Kepler were looking at 100,000 stars identical to our own, it would have found 410 stars with a total of 700 planets around them.But as of today, Kepler has found over 11,000 stars with at least one planetary candidate, and over 18,000 potential planets around those stars, with periods ranging from 12 hours up to 525 days.

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