Exocast-45c: how many exoplanets are there?

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In this episode, the team sits down to ponder the question how many exoplanets are there?

At first, this might seem like a relatively straightforward question that can be answered by NASA’s Exoplanet Archive, but it becomes more daunting when considering, for example, the biases and limitations of our instruments that affect our ability to even detect and characterise many planets, how we define a ‘planet’, and whether or not we have surveyed enough stars to consider our sample of planet-hosting stars to be representative of the wider stellar population.

But, at the core of this topic, are some of the fundamental questions and motivations that have always made us, as humans, look up at the night-sky and wonder if any of those stars had, in their orbit, a planet like our own.

So, listen along as the team makes an attempt at tackling this tricky question with a bit of statistics, a bit of astronomy, a little philosophy, and even a well-developed fishing metaphor (a first for the show).

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