On Wednesday, scientists at NASA brought amazing news that shook the entire scientific community. Their groundbreaking discovery involves a system of seven planets that resemble Earth and orbit around a single star.
The scientists called this star Trappist-1. It is situated in a constellation that is 39 million light-years away. Trappist-1 is one of the numerous cool dwarf stars that is found in the galaxy and is surrounded by seven Earth-like planets.
When comparing the distance from our Sun and the planets in the solar system and the distance of the planets from Trappist-1, the latter are gathered more tightly together than in the solar system. However, the scientists believe that some of the exoplanets found here may be habitable.
They used the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope for a more advanced study of the star and the planets revolving around it. However, the astronomers spotted this exoplanet system when using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope in Chile or, as it is also called, Trappist. This is where the astronomers got inspired from when they chose the name of the star.
NASA held a press conference in New York City where they commented on their latest discovery. They explained that, if traveling at light speed was possible, we would be able to reach this system in 39 years. It is situated only 235 trillion miles away from Earth, which is quite a small distance in space.
This suggest that it is less light that blocks our view of them, so they must be easier to study than other stars or exoplanets. This discovery made astronomers optimistic about the prospects of finding other planets that resemble Earth and that might be habitable.
Scientists think that three of the seven planets are habitable and have liquid water. However, this water cannot remain liquid without an atmosphere. Thus, there might be life on one of these planets but, at the moment, we cannot make such claims.
The exoplanets are all about the same size as Earth, have rocky compositions, and six of them have temperatures ranging from 0 and 100 degrees Celsius (32 – 212 degrees Fahrenheit).
Now, the prospect of life on other planets is closer than ever. Even if we cannot explore the new seven planets yet, we can still study them and maybe find out if they host life.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons