An artist’s illustration depicts an imagined view from the surface of one of the three newfound TRAPPIST-1 alien planets. The planets have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth, making them the best targets yet for life beyond our solar system, scientists say. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)
The detection of potentially habitable exoplanets is not the big news it once was — there have been so many identified already that the novelty has faded a bit. But that hardly means surprising and potentially breakthrough discoveries aren’t being made. They are, and one of them was just announced Monday.
This is how the European Southern Observatory, which hosts the telescope used to make the discoveries, introduced them:
Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered three planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.
A team of astronomers led by Michaël Gillon, of the Institut d’Astrophysique et Géophysique ...