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Five Amazing Facts About The Newly Discovered ‘TRAPPIST-1’ Solar System That Has Seven Earths

First Posted: Feb 24, 2017 02:52 AM EST
TRAPPIST-1 Solar System
The TRAPPIST-1 star is not favorable for promoting life hosting conditions in the planets that orbit it.
(Photo : NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube screenshot)

NASA recently announced the ground-breaking discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a star in the exoplanet system called TRAPPIST-1, which is located 40 lightyears away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. The American space agency made the revelation during a news briefing at the NASA Headquarters in Washington on Feb. 22.

The announcement by NASA has taken the scientific community and the world at large by storm especially because it was revealed that the seven exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1, in particular three planets in the parent star’s habitable zone, could be have liquid water and possibly support life. With all the excitement surrounding the discovery of a new solar system, take a look at some of the amazing facts about the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system.

1. The TRAPPIST-1 Star Is Cooler Than The Sun

Unlike our Sun, the star in the TRAPPIST-1 system is an ultra-cool dwarf. The star is so cool that liquid water could exist on the planets that orbit really close to it.

2. The Exoplanets In TRAPPIST-1 Orbit Close To Host Star

The seven exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 star system have planetary orbits close to their parent star. In fact, the planets are nearer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun.

3. The Seven Planets Of The Star System Are Located Near Each Other

The seven worlds of TRAPPIST-1 are located at a close distance from each other. Therefore, if a person was standing on the surface of one of the planets, he could actually see clouds or even geological features of the neighboring worlds. In addition, the other planets could sometimes appear to be bigger than the Moon seems in the sky.

4. All The Seven TRAPPIST-1 Planets Are Possibly Rocky

Based on their densities, astronomers have suggested that the planets in the sister solar system are likely to be rocky. However, scientists have also added that the mass of the seventh and farthest world has still not been estimated, and it could be an icy snowball-like planet.

5. The Exoplanets Are Tidally Locked With The Parent Star

The planets in the TRAPPIST-1 star system could also be tidally locked to their host star. Consequently, the same side of a planet is always facing its star, implying that it is always day on one side of it and night on the other. Therefore, the exoplanets may have weather patterns that are different from planet Earth, such as extreme temperature changes and powerful winds blowing from the day side of a planet to its night side.

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