Largest batch of earth-size, habitable-zone planets discovered by NASA

Not without a powerful telescope. The trail is growing hotter.

It is an exciting time to be an astronomer.

"We were excited by the initial discovery of the planets, but this morning, when my assistant told me actual letters had appeared, I was beyond excited", Gillon said.

It's just not what we non-rocket scientists were hoping for when word got out earlier this week that NASA would announce they had found a new Earth. "But for the first time since the first exoplanet was discovered 25 years ago, we may be able to answer the question about life beyond our solar system". As the system is so close to our own, researchers believe it could be one of the best places to look for life beyond Earth.

The planets, three of which are located within a "habitable zone", are within the constellation Aquarius. Based on their estimate on the densities of the planets, they have come to the conclusion that all of the TRAPPIST-1 bodies are probably the rocky type, like our planet.

Given the Trappist-1 system's distance, the mere fact that we can suddenly see the symbols also has scientists puzzled. A white dwarf is a sun that is cooler and far less massive than our own sun.

With the distance from Trappist-1 and with the size of the planets it is highly possible that one or more of these seven planets may have liquid water on them.

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If there is advanced or primitive life in that planetary system, there will be telltale signs of it in the atmosphere. Further observations will not only help determine whether they are rich in water, but also possibly reveal whether any could have liquid water on their surfaces. Another space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch next year.

Do you think scientists will discover alien life in the the new TRAPPIST system?

Now it is not yet clear whether the exoplanets have the existence of alien life or not.

It is important to remember that scientists study the cosmos using the data they obtained from our neighbor worlds. "Anyone can download the velocities published on our website and use the open-source Systemic software package and try fitting planets from the data". The orbit of the farthest planet is still unknown. "But that will require some big teams to break from tradition and start leading serious cooperative efforts".

Fascination with discovering extraterrestrial life is an old one. The Earth is unique in the solar system in one really important way: it's the only planet that has surface life so abundant that it's affecting the atmosphere. So much so that if a person were to stand on one of the planet's surface, they could gaze up and potentially see clouds on the other planets. A recent statistical study estimated that there are a trillion in our galaxy alone.

You can be a part of the discoveries being made. That explains why the scientific community is so excited about the finding. The Spitzer Space Telescope was instrumental in making confirmation studies of these worlds, which is especially interesting since Spitzer was never created to observe exoplanets.

Barclay added that up until now nearly all the planets we know about are not actually seen, but astronomers use proxy observations, like transits, to understand their characteristics.

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