TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison Chart

Seven Earth-like Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star

TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison ChartImage via Space.com

This morning NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets “that could harbor life” orbiting an ultra cool red dwarf star. Three of these seven newly discovered planets are in the Habitable Zone. The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years (235 trillion miles) away — a mere stone’s throw in the cosmic scheme of things.

From Washington Post:

The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have ever detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying alien worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.

“Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” said lead author Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don’t, whatever we find will be super interesting.”

Here’s the paper in Nature: Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1.

Bubble Planet 1

Planetary Bubbles

Bubble Planet 1

Bubble Planet 15All photos courtesy of Jason Tozer

These stunning photographs are not of distant gas planets. They are close-up shots of soap bubbles captured by photographer Jason Tozer. Tozer uses a giant dome of perspex to illuminate the reflective surface and blows through a straw to excite the surface of each bubble. His bubble making recipe is ten parts distilled water, one part washing up soap, and a bit of glycerine. All of the colors and details are genuine as Tozer very rarely relies post processing or the use of filters. A bunch more very high-resolution shots can be found below.
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