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Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure. But you're also seeing planets -- billions and billions of them. At least.

That's the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) that provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32 -- planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority in the galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most planets form.

"There's at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy -- just our galaxy," says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. "That's mind-boggling."

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