Three Earth-like planets discovered orbiting dwarf star

An international team of scientists have discovered a trio of Earth-like exoplanets using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory.

These planets were found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth and are likely comparable in size and temperature to Earth and Venus.

Key facts

  • Scientists have named the ultra-cool dwarf star 2MASS J23062928-0502285 (also known as TRAPPIST-1). It is located in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Carrier).
  • TRAPPIST-1 is about one eighth the size of the Sun (barely larger than Jupiter) and significantly cooler.
  • The three planets were found to orbit very close to their host dwarf star. Two of the exoplanets have orbital periods of about 2.4 days and 1.5 days respectively. The third planet has a less well-determined orbital period in the range 4.5 to 73 days.
  • The inner two planets only receive four times and twice the amount of radiation received by the Earth respectively.
  • The third outer planet probably receives less radiation that of the Earth receives but its orbit is not yet well known and maybe lying within the habitable zone.

Exoplanet: It is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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