Chimay in the TRAPPIST-1 system?

Chimay in the TRAPPIST-1 system?
Chimay in the TRAPPIST-1 system?

This Friday evening, Emmanuel Jehin, professor at Ulg who collaborated with Professor Michaël Gillon (absent due to illness) on the discovery, in 2015, of a solar system close to ours, called TRAPPIST, was present in Chimay in the company by Mathilde Timmermans, doctoral student at the Ulg Faculty of Sciences. They had been invited by the CNABH (Circle of naturalists and amateur astronomers of the Botte du Hainaut).

At a conference, these specialists, famous throughout the world for their work, presented their research on this solar system, of which three of the seven Earth-sized planets are located in a habitable zone. The other project developed by this scientific team, entitled the SPECULOOS project (Search for Habitable Planets Eclipsing Ultra-Cool Stars), aims to detect potentially habitable exoplanets around the smallest and coldest stars in the solar neighborhood.

40 light years away

Even if the name TRAPPIST chosen by the scientists comes from the English acronym “Transiting planets and planetesimals small telescope”, the professors’ desire was to highlight that it was Belgians who made this discovery. The latter was notably able to take place thanks to NASA which had made available to Belgian researchers an enormous telescope, certainly at the end of its life, but which helped them greatly in their research,

What could be more representative than Trappist beers to associate this red dwarf and its planets, located only 40 light years from Earth, with Belgiumcommented, jokingly, Professor Jehin. At NASA, during the press conference following the discovery, everyone already knew our Trappist beers. Among these, Chimay. I must also point out that I had the opportunity to drink one in a café in Santiago, Chile. This must be where I paid the most for it.

Visiting Chimay for two days, Emmanuel Jehin and Mathilde Timmermans were hosted by the princely family at the Château de Chimay. They also met Dom Damien Debaisieux, the abbot of the Trappist fathers of Chimay. The latter asked them questions of a more philosophical nature, but also about the nature of their work and where they were in their current research.

The planets in the name of the Trappists?

Indeed, at the end of the conference on Friday evening, Emmanuel Jehin left a certain suspense lingering by declaring that a rather exceptional announcement was to be made shortly. Enough to imagine the most extraordinary hypotheses on the results of their current research. Unless it involves naming the seven exoplanets after the Belgian Trappists? To have…

But for sure, we will see Emmanuel Jehin again in Chimay, if possible with Michaël Gillon, for a second conference, undoubtedly in the magnificent Château theater. What will it contain? There remains yet another mystery!

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