Three Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star at 40 light-years away

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It is much cooler and redder than our Sun, with an age constrained to be 500 million years old, and with a luminosity, mass, and radius of 0.05%, 8% and 11.5% those of the Sun. The masses of these planets are still unknown, making their internal composition as yet undetermined. “Systems around these tiny stars are the only places where we can detect life on an Earth-sized exoplanet with our current technology,” Michael Gillon – one of the lead study author – said.

The two inner exoplanets take between 1.5 and 2.4 days to orbit the Trappist-1 star. The precise orbit time of the third planet is not known, but it falls somewhere between 4.5 days and 73 days. There is hope to discover water and possibly life. Future observatories, including NASA’s James Web Space Telescope set to launch in 2018, should unearth even more details.

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