A team of astronomers have discovered seven potentially-habitable planets orbiting a nearby dwarf star.
Many ground-based facilities were used to detect the seven planets, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, ESO’s Very Large Telescope, and the SAAO telescope in South Africa.
The seven Earth-sized planets inhabit the TRAPPIST-1 system, which is named after the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope in Chile.
Three of the planets lie in the “Goldilocks Zone”, where temperatures range between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius – the ideal conditions for supporting life.
The other planets lie outside of this zone, but could potentially support liquid water and some form of life due to the small size and low temperature of the TRAPPIST-1 dwarf star.
“It is the best target yet for studying the atmospheres of potentially-habitable, Earth-size worlds,” said Michael Gillon, principal investigator of the TRAPPIST exoplanet survey.
The TRAPPIST-1 system is 40 light years away.