This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f,
one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
Scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope
and ground-based telescopes
have discovered that there are seven
Earth-size planets in the system.
Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech
Big discovery! NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting a tiny star only 40 light-years away. Three of them are firmly in the habitable zone.
At a news conference in Washington D.C. today (February 22, 2017), NASA announced that itsSpitzer Space Telescope has observed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in what’s called the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water – key to life as we know it. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of known planets in a star’s habitable zone. After all, our solar system has only two planets in the habitable zone: Earth and Mars. This exoplanet system – called TRAPPIST-1 – has three.
Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.