Seven planets, with the size similar to that of the earth, have been discovered, revolving around a tiny star named Trappist-1, that’s 235 trillion miles away. This provides the first realistic chance for the search of existence outside of the solar system. In cosmic terms, the distance from the dwarf star to the Earth is quite close, and it’s serendipitous, as the location of the orbits of those planets allows for easy studies.
Based on the distance of the exoplanets from the Trappist-1, the astronomers anticipate that at least one of the seven planets in the discovered system is expected to have the right temperature to support life. According to Michael Gillon, a leader of the international team studying the dwarf star and an astronomer at the University of Liege, it’s the first time many planets of this nature are found orbiting around the same star.
Amaury H.M.J Triaud, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge, who’s also participating in the research, says that he thinks they’ve made a critical step towards establishing whether there is life outside of Earth. If it doesn’t support life, the scientists will establish more reasons why life cannot flourish there.
Astronomers have always known that other stars (just like the sun) must have planets revolving around them, but until a few decades ago, they hadn’t spotted a single one. But now, according to the Open Exoplanet Catalog, they’ve confirmed over 3,400 or them. The dwarf star dims periodically, showing that a planet may be blocking part if the light as it circles. Spitzer Space Telescope observed the star and the scientists calculated a total of seven planets that are too small and close to the star to be directly photographed.