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Hubble delivers first hints of possible water content of TRAPPIST-1 planets

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:13 pm

An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbour substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable.

On 22 February 2017 astronomers announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, 40 light-years away. This makes TRAPPIST-1 the planetary system with the largest number of Earth-sized planets discovered so far.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:15 pm

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Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes have discovered that there are seven Earth-size planets in the system.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:19 pm



A study of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the TRAPPIST-1 star reveals that the outer planets may have water on their surfaces, including 3 Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of the system.

TRAPPIST-1 is 39 light-years away from Earth, or about 229 trillion miles (369 trillion kilometers). It would take 39 years to get to its current location traveling at the speed of light.

 
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