Astronomers Discover 7 Earth-Size Planets Orbiting Around A Single Star

Posted: Feb 23 2017, 3:45am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Astronomers Discover 7 Earth-Size Planets Orbiting Around a Single Star
This artist's impression shows the view from the surface of one of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. At least seven planets orbit this ultra cool dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth and they are all roughly the same size as the Earth. They are at the right distances from their star for liquid water to exist on the surfaces of several of them. CREDIT: ESO/M. Kornmesser

NASA Telescope discovered 7 Earth-size, habitable-zone planets orbiting around a single ultra-cool red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 located outside our solar system.

Recently, NASA detected a new system of seven earth size planets by Spitzer space telescope. The seven planets exist around a single star in a habitable zone and the rocky planet seems to have liquid water.

This is the first time such discovery is made, and scientists believe that the 7 planets could have water years before.The discovery also reveals that habitable conditions are good for life, said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

This new planet system is 40 light years away from earth and lies in the constellation Aquarius that’s close to earth. The seven planets are called exoplanets, because they are located outside the solar system.

Scientists have named the exoplanet system as TRAPPIST-1 due to The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. Researchers used the TRAPPIST in May 2016 and detected three planets in the system, of which 2 planets were confirmed.

Later, 5 more planets were discovered by ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, and became seven planets.

The research results were published in the journal Nature, and announced at news at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The research team also measured the planets with Spitzer data and found the masses of 6 planets.

The density of the planets showed that they are rocky, though it’s not clear that the exoplanets have water, but possibility of water is there. The team could not evaluate the density of 7th exoplanet as it’s away and perhaps it’s icy.

This is the first time that earth size planets are found around the star, said Michael Gillon, lead author of the paper and the principal investigator of the TRAPPIST exoplanet survey at the University of Liege, Belgium.

The team studied that all planets are close to each other and also close to the star that’s also called ultra-cool-dwarf.

The seven planets are named as TRAPPIST-1b, c, d, e, f, g and h. The event of transits helped astronomers to know the planets in terms of their sizes, orbits and compositions and discovered that 6 stars are like earth in size and temperature. The energy released by TRAPPISTS-1 is weaker than the sun, explained Co-author Amaury Triaud.

The exoplanets will help scientists in their future study, and NASA is already using Hubble space telescope to study the atmosphere around the planets. NASA will also study TRAPPIST-1 system with its upcoming telescopes, like ESO, and James Webb Space Telescope to search water.

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