NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope spotted an undiscovered cluster of seven Earth-sized planets revolving around a dwarf star called Trappist-1. And the planets are assumed to be in the Goldilocks zone which means there is the possibility of life on the newly found planets. A new hope towards the cliché “We are not alone”.
Turns out that it wasn’t just dust on the lens of the NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, but an unexplored star system with seven Earth-size planets around a dwarf star named TRAPPIST-1 (The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope), some or all of which could harbour water and possibly life! This expedition can be titled as the biggest set of such planets found at once yet.
This star system is said to be located in the constellation Aquarius, less than 40 light-years or 235 trillion miles away from us; which can be considered close as per astronomical standards.The 7 planets orbit Trappist-1 and the orbit size ranging from 1.5 to 20 days. If Trappist-1 were our sun, the orbits of all 7 planets would fit inside the orbit of Mercury. Yes! They are that closely bound. The planets are only known by letters, “b” through “h”.
The exciting news about the discovery is that three of these planets smack dab in the Goldilocks Zone, which is the “habitable zone” indicating a possibility of an existence of watery streams and conditions which are just right for life to flourish. Voila, right! Well easy, till Earthlings; because it’just an assumption and the scientists still need to research a lot for being sure.
Spitzer, Hubble, and Kepler will help astronomers plan for follow-up studies using NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Scientists need to study the atmospheres of the new rising star and its planets before jumping to any conclusion about the existence of our co-galaxial habitants on TRAPPIST-1.