NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

Stsci_2017-07_1024

stsci_2017-07 February 22nd, 2017

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The TRAPPIST-1 system contains a total of seven planets, all around the size of Earth. Three of them TRAPPIST-1e, f and g dwell in their star's so-called "habitable zone." The habitable zone, or Goldilocks zone, is a band around every star (shown here in green) where astronomers have calculated that temperatures are just right not too hot, not too cold for liquid water to pool on the surface of an Earth-like world.

While TRAPPIST-1b, c and d are too close to be in the system's likely habitable zone, and TRAPPIST-1h is too far away, the planets' discoverers say more optimistic scenarios could allow any or all of the planets to harbor liquid water. In particular, the strikingly small orbits of these worlds make it likely that most, if not all of them, perpetually show the same face to their star, the way our moon always shows the same face to the Earth. This would result in an extreme range of temperatures from the day to night sides, allowing for situations not factored into the traditional habitable zone definition. The illustrations shown for the various planets depict a range of possible scenarios of what they could look like.

The system has been revealed through observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope.

Image Source: http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-07

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

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Image Details

Image Type
Chart
Object Name
TRAPPIST-1
Subject - Milky Way
Planet > Type > Terrestrial

Distance

Universescale1
40 light years
Stsci_2017-07_1280
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ID
2017-07
Subject Category
B.1.1.1  
Subject Name
TRAPPIST-1
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2017-02-22
Lightyears
40
Redshift
40
Reference Url
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-07
Type
Chart
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p1707a-f-5295x2978.tif
Metadata Date
2018-04-10T17:11:24-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Universescalefull
40 light years