Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. Using ground and space telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the planets were all detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1.
Three of the planets lie in the habitable zone and could harbour oceans of water on their surfaces, increasing the possibility that the star system could play host to life. This system has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets yet found and the largest number of worlds that could support liquid water on their surfaces. This ESOcasts describes the findings and shows a little of what they might mean.
The artist’s impressions in this video are based on the known physical parameters for the planets and stars seen, and uses a vast database of objects in the Universe.
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Editing: Herbert Zodet.
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.
Written by: Thomas Barratt and Lauren Fuge.
Music: STAN DART (www.stan-dart.com).
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa.
Footage and photos: ESO, Luis Calçada/spaceengine.org, Theofanis Matsopoulos, Liam Young, ACe Consortium, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab, Chris Meaney (HTSI): Lead Animator, Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Producer, Martin Kornmesser, Babak Tafreshi (twanight.org) and Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)
Directed by: Herbert Zodet.
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.