Seven Earth-size planets have been found huddled around an ultra-cool, red dwarf star. They could be little more than chunks of rock blasted by radiation, or cloud-covered worlds as boiling hot as Venus. On the other hand, they could harbor exotic life, thriving under twilight skies like that you see on the movie “Avatar”.
Scientists are pondering the possibilities after this week’s announcement: the discovery of seven worlds orbiting a small, cool star some 40 light-years (or 240 TRILLION miles) away, all of them in the ballpark of our home planet in terms of their heft (mass) and size (diameter). Three of the planets reside in the “Habitable zone” or “Goldilocks zone” around their star, TRAPPIST-1, where calculations suggest that conditions might be right for liquid water, the elixir of all known life, to exist on their surfaces—though follow-up observations are needed to be sure.
All seven are examples of exactly what planet hunting astronomer dream to find.
For more information on this “out of this world” discovery, check out NASA
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