The mysterious potentially habitable planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, “a red dwarf just 40 light years from Earth”

The mysterious potentially habitable planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, “a red dwarf just 40 light years from Earth”
The mysterious potentially habitable planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, “a red dwarf just 40 light years from Earth”

Friday evening, a conference on TRAPPIST, a solar system neighboring ours, was held in Chimay. Emmanuel Jehin (ULiège, co-discoverer with Michaël Gillon) and Mathilde Timmermans (doctoral student at ULiège) came to make people dream.

A Belgian and Liège discovery

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 the “Belgian” content of this discovery. It was notably possible thanks to NASA, which had provided Belgian researchers with an enormous telescope, certainly at the end of its life, but which greatly helped them 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.

Three Earth-sized planets are located in a habitable zone

During this conference, these specialists – who have become famous worldwide for their work – presented their research on the TRAPPIST solar system, since its discovery in 2015. Three of its seven “Earth-sized” planets are located in a habitable zone .

Emmanuel Jehin created some suspense by declaring that a “quite exceptional announcement” should be done 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…

Extraterrestrial life on Trappist-1? There is water !

Artist’s impression: the surface of the exoplanet Trappist-1 f. ©NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

> The conference can be viewed in full on YouTube.

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