NASA recently completed analysis of Kepler telescope data and findings form the Keck telescope in Hawaii, examining stars similar to our sun (G and K type). They were looking for candidates that might have planets in habitable "Goldilocks" zones.
Scientists focused on 42,000 stars and found more than 600 planets--10 of those are Earth-sized in habitable zones! From Universe Today:
Since there are about 200 billion stars in our galaxy, with 40 billion of them like our Sun, noted planet-hunter Geoff Marcy said that gives us about 8.8 billion Earth-size planets in the Milky Way.
“For NASA, this number – that every fifth star has a planet somewhat like Earth – is really important, because successor missions to Kepler will try to take an actual picture of a planet, and the size of the telescope they have to build depends on how close the nearest Earth-size planets are,” said Andrew Howard, astronomer with the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. “An abundance of planets orbiting nearby stars simplifies such follow-up missions.”
While it's true not all are likely to be hospitable to life, this gives researchers a specific pool of candidates to examine for further study. Looks like more great news for exoplanet research!!
Read more at Universe Today