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SPECULOOS (yes, seriously), a new exoplanet hunter, comes online

26 Apr 2019, 13:00 UTC
SPECULOOS (yes, seriously), a new exoplanet hunter, comes online ESO/G. Lambert

A new observatory has come online to look for planets around nearby stars. I’m pretty excited about the science that will come from it, because it has a very narrow target specification: It’s looking at very cool, low-mass stars to see if Earth-sized planets orbit them!

We think that these low-mass stars may preferentially make planets around the same size as Earth, so they may be a rich hunting ground for such objects. It’s also possible multiple Earth-sized planet systems are likely; the famous case of TRAPPIST-1, with its seven terrestrial planets (at least), may be a rule and not an exception.

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