NASA found three planets in the habitable zone of a star located near us
A few days ago, NASA made a discovery that is unique in its kind. It all started in may last year, when astronomers from Chile using the TRAPPIST telescope has discovered three planets from a star located only 40 light years from us.
After that, the observation of the star was connected to ground telescope Very Large Telescope and Spitzer space telescope. In the end, scientists not only confirmed the existence of planets, but also found a few more.
Star system called TRAPPIST-1. Currently astronomers believe in the existence of seven planets orbiting the star, and six of them earth-like. But the most important thing is that three of them are in habitable zone. This is the first discovery of this kind. If the planet is in the habitable zone, so it gets the same amount of heat, which makes possible the presence on its surface of water in a liquid state. And this, in turn, makes possible the presence of life. Of course, all this is only in theory. In practice, being in the habitable zone does not mean that the planet is sure to be water. For example, in our solar system are also in the habitable zone is three planets: Venus, Earth and Mars. What about our celestial neighbors, we all know from the school course of astronomy.
Anyway, the opening is still important and the first of its kind. By the way, the star around which these planets is a red dwarf. Its size compared to the Sun can be estimated in the image below.
From this it follows that in order to find three planets in habitable zone, they must be located very close to each other. Actually, it is. The distance between the planets is very small by the standards of our system.
This in turn causes would be the most powerful tides on the planets, if there really was water. With the passage of the neighboring planets at a minimum distance from each other, a hypothetical observer on one of the planets could see the mountains and even cloud cover on the other.
Unfortunately, modern technology does not allow us to confirm or deny the presence on the surface of these planets with liquid water. And that, to get to these planets can not yet be considered. But already in 2018 into orbit will be launched telescope the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to see the spectral lines of such exoplanets, which will allow to know the chemical composition, that is, to detect water, if available.