Photo via wikipedia under the Creative Commons Licence
TRAPPIST 1 is a planetary system, located 39 light years away from our solar system. There are seven planets orbiting a star which is 12 times smaller than our Sun.
The initial discovery was made on the 22 February 2017, by TRAPPIST (The TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope).
The planets were discovered thanks to the repeated shadows that were cast when they passed in front of their sun. Due to this, astronomers were able to measure how much time it took for every planet to orbit their star and calculate the size of each one.
With this information astronomers were able to calculate the mass, density and bulk of every planet. We also know that the planets consist of a rocky composition.
Trappist 1 is very similar to our solar system. There are a few planets that are about the same size as Earth and about the same temperature, too; although, because their star is smaller, the average temperature is much colder than the average on the planets in our solar system.
The discovery of these new planets is revolutionary because, finally, we might have found somewhere (planets e; f; g), apart from Earth, where there may be life or a possibility for us humans to build a new society. The Trappist-1 crew is now very interested in radio transmissions that we might be able to receive from these planets. Who knows….the population living on that planet could be 1000 years ahead of us with their technology, or 1000 years behind us. Despite this, we still do not have enough information to claim this as absolute truth and the astronomers don’t want to state something that hasn’t been confirmed or could be proven incorrect after more research.