CNN: For the first time in the history of space science, the researchers are able to discover three potentially habitable Earth-like planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star which is just 40 light years away in another star system.
This ultracool dwarf star is named as ‘TRAPPIST-1’ and it is not a kind of star that scientists have expected to be a planet hub. It is half the temperature of the sun and ten times smaller than it. It is barely red and is larger than planet Jupiter. It is too dim to be visible through naked eyes or even through Earth’s amateur telescopes.
These tiny stars are common in Milky Way. These were overlooked until Micheal Gillon, the researcher from University of Liege (Belgium) took a risk and studied space around the one of these dwarves. The researchers in the team of Gillon used telescope- ‘TRAPPIST’ for observing starlight and changes in its brightness.
After a study, three planets were discovered orbiting this dwarf star. Two of these planets were similar to the size of Earth and received 4 times radiations that Earth receives from the sun. The third planet received two times of the radiations the Earth received from the sun. All three planets are in the habitable zone. According to the researchers, two of the planets are tidally locked. It means that one side of the planet is always facing the star. Now the study will continue till years.
The planets though are just 40 light years away, but this doesn’t mean that we are reaching them soon. According to current technology, we will be able to reach these planets in millions of years. But these planets have provided a good opportunity for researchers to study life beyond Earth.
The telescope used to study these planets is powerful than Hubble telescope. And by 2018, they will be using James Webb Space Telescope to observe and study the atmospheric shells of the planets. This will even provide detailed information about the temperature, pressure, and composition of the planet.
Burgasser, the researcher who studied this planet said, “There might be a possibility that there will be more planets in the orbit. We have already shown that these types of stars are the way to find Earth-like planets.”