I have long uspected that planets were a natural byproduct more often than not of stellar formation. It just made sense - we're here aren't we with a teeming solar system full of asteroids, comets, dwarf planets and 8 major ones. Oh, and I suspect that life exists "out there" in our solar system as well as on the 100 BILLION planets that are estimated, at a MINIMUM, to exist in our Milky Way Galaxy.
That is the conclusion - every star in our galaxy has planets - of a major statistical study recently completed. This same study estimates that there are 1,500 planets within 50 light years of Earth. Just think, when we go outside at night and look at the stars, we can now imagine planets orbitng them and contemplate if life there is looking back. It is also estimated that smaller planets are more populous than larger ones so perhaps our own solar system is a good rendition of how a solar system might evolve around a G class star like our Sun.
Of course one can now extrapolate that every other galaxy out there has to have a planet associated with each one of its stars. So, there are billions upon billions of galaxies, some with hundreds and hundreds of billions of stars which means that there is at a minimum one planet per star.
Hmmmm, I think we live in a very planet populated Universe and we just cannot be the only planet pondering planetary perplexities.
Read More About It: http://hubblesite.org/news/
Sky Guy in VA