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Seven Earth-Like Planets Orbit One Nearby Star

TRAPPIST-1

The red dwarf has seven alien planets the size of Earth, giving TRAPPIST-1 more potentially habitable worlds than any other star we know about.

(via popular mechanics)

TRAPPIST-1
TRAPPIST-1

The most promising place to search for life outside our solar system just got even more enticing.

Last year, a research team operating the ESO’s Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, or TRAPPIST, discovered that a small, dim red dwarf star about 39 light-years away had three planets orbiting it. All three exoplanets were about the size of Earth and in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” where temperatures can hover between 0 and 100 degrees C—the ideal conditions for liquid water and, perhaps, life.

The team, lead by Michaël Gillon of the STAR Institute at the University of Liège in Belgium, eagerly turned more telescopes toward TRAPPIST-1, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Now, a paper published today in Nature reveals that TRAPPIST-1 has not three but seven Earth-sized planets, six of which are likely rocky, and all seven could possibly support liquid water.

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