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Expert Reaction: Discovery of new solar system

Posted on 23 February 2017

Dr Emily Brunsden, Department of Physics at the University of York, offers her expert reaction to the news that scientists have detected seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star.

“This discovery is so important because it gives us a fudge-factor in our calculations - at least one of these planets should be right for life as we understand it. 

“The next two years are going to be really exciting as we will have new telescopes to determine details like the compositions of the atmospheres of these and other earth-like planets. This could give us strong evidence for other life forms in our galaxy. 

“Researchers have revealed the most Earth-sized planets identified in the same system. Even better, three are in the habitable zone of the host star - a distance where the planets are not too hot or not too cold so liquid water could exist. Because of the dynamics of the system, there could even be water on those further away also. 

“The TRAPPIST-1 system is one of the most exciting exoplanet systems found to date, and one of the best chances we have of finding extra-terrestrial life.

 “Should we ever discover life beyond our planet it will change forever the way we think about ourselves and our place in the Universe.” 


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