Friday, February 24, 2017

NASA Discovers 7 Earth-sized Exoplanets!

You may have heard about the recently announced NASA discovery of 7 earth-sized worlds orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. The system is called TRAPPIST-1, named after the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile, and is 40 light years away from earth. To give you a small idea of how far that is, if there are aliens in the TRAPPIST-1 system, they are just now receiving our TV broadcasts from 1970. Still, this system is considered relatively close to us, and scientists are excitedly trying to determine if any of the planets have an atmosphere or water on the surface. An interesting feature of the system is that the planets are thought to be tidally locked with their sun—meaning that one side of the planet is always facing the sun, producing a permanent daytime side and a permanent night-time side. Coincidentally, the Reln planet of Sardos in the Solar Echoes universe is also tidally locked with its sun, and its influence upon Reln life is significant. Imagine what it would be like to live in such a place!

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