How many stars in the Milky Way have at least one planet similar to Earth? A rocky planet that is capable of sustaining liquid water on its surface? More than one in five, say EU-funded researchers who shed new light on the nature of terrestrial exoplanets, boosting Europe's contribution to the advancement of astrophysics.
The luminosity of an astronomical object, if known, can be used to measure vast distances in space. A particular type of gamma ray burst could be applied in this way, according to an EU-funded project. It would be the brightest such 'standard candle' yet, opening up new opportunities to advance our understanding of the cosmos.