Seven Earth-sized planets have been observed by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope around a tiny, nearby, ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are firmly in the habitable zone.
Over 21 days, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope measured the drop in light as each planet passed in front of the star. Spitzer was able to identify a total of seven rocky worlds, including three in the habitable zone, where liquid water might be found.
The video features interviews with Sean Carey, manager of the Spitzer Science Center, Caltech/IPAC; Nikole Lewis, James Webb Space Telescope project scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute; and Michaël Gillon, principal investigator, TRAPPIST, University of Liege, Belgium.
The system has been revealed through observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at Caltech/IPAC. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. For more information about Spitzer, visit http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer and http://spitzer.caltech.edu.
NASA to Host News Conference on Discovery Beyond Our Solar System
NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 22, to present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets.
Media and the public also may ask questions during the briefing on Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.
The briefing participants are:
· Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
· Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium
· Sean Carey, manager of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC, Pasadena, California
· Nikole Lewis, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
· Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
A Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about exoplanets will be held following the briefing at 3 p.m. with scientists available to answer questions in English and Spanish.
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