Major Discovery! 7 Earth-Size Alien Planets Circle Nearby Star

Posted: February 22, 2017 by oldbrew in Astronomy, exploration
Tags: ,

Exoplanets up to 90 times closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun.

Exoplanets up to 90 times closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun.

We did know something about this system already, but more work has led to today’s announcement.

Astronomers have never seen anything like this before, says Seven Earth-size alien worlds orbit the same tiny, dim star, and all of them may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports. 

“Looking for life elsewhere, this system is probably our best bet as of today,” study co-author Brice-Olivier Demory, a professor at the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern in Switzerland, said in a statement. 

The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years from Earth — a mere stone’s throw in the cosmic scheme of things. So speculation about the alien worlds’ life-hosting potential should soon be informed by hard data, study team members said.

“We can expect that, within a few years, we will know a lot more about these planets, and with hope, if there is life there, [we will know] within a decade,” co-author Amaury Triaud, of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in England, told reporters on Tuesday (Feb. 21).
– – –
The six inner planets are in near-resonance, meaning their orbital periods are related to each other by a ratio of two small integers. This arrangement suggests that the worlds formed farther out in the system and then migrated in to their current positions, study team members said.

Full report: Major Discovery! 7 Earth-Size Alien Planets Circle Nearby Star |
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Talkshop note:
For the six inner planets [1b to 1g] (7th lacks accurate data so far now said to orbit in 18.77 days) we find the synodic period ratios line up like this:
g-f : f-e = 2:1
f-e : e-d = 3:2
e-d : d-c = 2:1
d-c : c-b = 3:2
[g-f : c-b = 9:1]

The exactness of the ratios is very good.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Report: ‘The orbital periods of the innermost six worlds range from 1.5 days to 12.4 days; the outermost planet, known as TRAPPIST-1h, is thought to complete one lap in about 20 days. (Spitzer spotted just one transit by TRAPPIST-1h, so its orbital path is not well-known.)’ [bold added]

    A pity or we could have claimed the outer two planets were in a 1:Phi relationship 😉
    20 (T-1h) / 12.35294 (T-1g) = 1.6190477
    [Fibonacci numbers 34 / 21 = 1.6190476]

    We await the final data 😎
    – – –
    There’s still the resonance result:
    ‘The six inner planets form a near-resonant chain, such that their orbital periods (1.51, 2.42, 4.04, 6.06, 9.1 and 12.35 days) are near-ratios of small integers.’

    NB it’s not the orbits, it’s the synodic periods that have the real resonance (see end of post).

  2. u.k.(us) says:

    If they can’t tell us how to stop the stupidity of ISIS, or the winner of the next World Cup, then tell me why I should care ??

  3. Sparks says:

    Can this solar system falsify the fibonacci sequence? Hahaha

  4. Sparks says:

    Btw all systems aren’t perfect and breakdown…

  5. Sparks says:


  6. Sparks says:

    Which is the predictability of gradual decline into disorder, from a relative point in time. In my opinion 😉

  7. Sparks says:

    Also, life on other planets? Absurd, There is no life out there, it’s all horse shit, because you are a gullible **** who buys my (insert name here) doesn’t mean I have to.

  8. oldmanK says:

    These are all very interesting news, a little step forward to understanding the cosmos. However what is important to understand in all this, is that there is no replacement for the planet — not the one we own — but the one on/to which we are tied to like slaves (or maybe lemming) in a cage.

    We have not yet started understanding planet Earth.

  9. Richard111 says:

    WE OWN ! ! ! Your dead right we don’t understand it or ourselves.

  10. oldbrew says:

    With just 8% the mass of the Sun, TRAPPIST-1 is very small in stellar terms—only marginally bigger than the planet Jupiter.

    TRAPPIST-1e, f, and g…represent the holy grail for planet-hunting astronomers, as they orbit in the star’s habitable zone. [liquid water possible]

    The planetary orbits are not much larger than that of Jupiter’s Galilean moon system, and much smaller than the orbit of Mercury in the Solar System. However, TRAPPIST-1’s small size and low temperature mean that the energy input to its planets is similar to that received by the inner planets in our Solar System; TRAPPIST-1c, d and f receive similar amounts of energy to Venus, Earth and Mars, respectively.

    Read more at:

    But they experience ‘XUV irradiation of the planets that is many times stronger than experienced by the present-day Earth.’

    See: ‘Strong XUV irradiation of the Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the ultracool dwarf TRAPPIST-1

  11. Bitter&twisted says:

    Nice discovery, but they will all be tidally locked and fried by repeated and massive solar flares.
    Not my idea of a “Goldilocks” zone.

  12. Stephen Richards says:

    As I understand this. The sun is a cold sun. These are usually improperly formed with not enough material to fully fire up. The chances of life on any of the planets is likely zero or very close.

  13. oldbrew says:

    It is quite a cold sun but the planets are very close to it. The sixth planet out of seven only takes 12.3 days per orbit, the nearest is 1.51 days.

    Effective temperature 2550.0 (± 55.0) K

  14. Received
    21 November 2016
    21 December 2016
    Published online
    22 February

    Archetypes mainstream communication…. (tarot)

    21 ….

    “…..In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit


  15. oldbrew says:

    Plenty of graphics and short videos about Trappist-1 here:
    – – –
    The Fermi paradox – where are all the aliens?

    The paradox has become ever more baffling as our knowledge of the universe grows.

    As well as the newly found planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, deep space scans performed by Nasa have discovered a further nine potentially life-supporting planets farther away.

    Some scientists go so far as to speculate that there may be around 60 billion planets capable of supporting life in the Milky Way alone.

    Yet 40 years of intensive searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence has yielded nothing. No radio signals, no credible spacecraft sightings, no close encounters of any kind.

    Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, has proposed a disturbing answer. Perhaps there is a limit to how sophisticated a species can become.

    We become smart enough to make nuclear bombs — and dumb enough to use them, he says. Or perhaps we just get addicted to social media and computer games, Miller suggests facetiously.

    ‘The aliens may forget to send radio signals or colonise space because they are too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual reality narcissism . . . just as we are doing today,’ he says.

    Read more:
    – – –
    There’s the zoo hypothesis 😎

  16. This is hype, nothing more, done to combat the latest damage done to NASA’s image by allegations of climate data fraud, and by Trump’s new orders putting it in its place.

    The Weather Channel keeps breaking in today to inform its viewers of this “stunning” NASA discovery. That alone tells you it is just another attempt to control the public narrative…”look a squirrel!”

    I started to write a substantially longer comment, on the silly nature of this planetary system as described, but it is just not worth it. If you can’t see how speculative, overblown, and politically misdirecting this announcement is, well, what is a little more fluff promulgated as “really important”, in the current worldwide crisis of scientific incompetence and political dishonesty?

  17. Richard111 says:

    Re the The Fermi paradox.

    With regard to the age of the universe and the technical life time of humanity, it would seem intelligent life only lasts about 500 years. Aliens might also be very short lived if they are as stupid as humans. Then again any aliens that have survived the development phase will possible keep out of the way until strangers have demonstrated their ability to survive on a limited planet for a few thousand years.

  18. oldbrew says:

    If anyone was monitoring the nuclear bomb tests, or the wars of the last 100 years, that might put them off contacting humans 😐

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    Per other life:

    Inverse square means any broadcast source will be undetectable after any relatively short distance. Highly colimated communications like via laser will be reaching so narrow a spot of sky as to be essentially zero odds of being on the beam. Then we are just now moving to wide use of spread spectrum that to casual observation looks like noise. All that means the odds of seeing any signal AND recognizing it approaches closely to 0.

    Space is huge and nobody is near. Spending enough energy to power a planet AND taking many lifetimes to make a oneway journey to a pointless alien world is unlikely to be attractive to intelligent species. Nobody will be visiting in droves, any singles highly unlikely.

    Most species realize that advertizing to predators is a bad idea. The rest don’t last long. Expecting to see leakage of clear signals is naive.

    Mix, shake, rinse and repeat…

    Were I building a long distance space ship, I would make it stealth black and silent, with spreadspectrum comms on a tight beam in microsecond burst only…

  20. oldmanK says:

    Quote: Richard111 says: February 23, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    “Re the The Fermi paradox.

    With regard to the age of the universe and the technical life time of humanity, it would seem intelligent life only lasts about 500 years.”

    An interesting observation – that is backed with proof. Between 5200bceand 2000bce humanity, along with its pets, has seen repeated annihilations, through cataclysms, but somehow survived with what technical advances they had. Only the last 4k years was it allowed to begin again and prosper to what it is today. Cataclysms are a norm to a planet like Earth. The question we should be asking is: ‘are we prepared this time? to retain what has been gained?’ Or back to a ‘stone age’.

  21. Richard111 says:


    Not quite what I meant. I think all our wonderful technology, which was not available to our ancestors, is what will probably destroy humanity this time, and quite possibly leave the world unable to support any life at all. Only until this phase has passed will the aliens then possibly make contact.

  22. oldbrew says:

    A simpler explanation re Fermi’s paradox would be that ‘the aliens’ are just too far away to be aware of a small planet that’s just a dot in a very distant galaxy.

  23. USteiner says:

    I’m sorry, but I see them more as “budget planets”, meaning an idea created to get further funding.

    Once upon a time we had nine planets in our solar system, and out of them only 1 allows life as we know it. But now we have 6 planets, and all of them allows life? Not one of them is too cold or too hot? How closely spaced can they possibly rotate to achieve this magic?

    Give me a good reason, why this should be possible.

  24. oldbrew says:

    The report says ‘modeling work performed by the team suggests that three of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets (e, f and g) are in the habitable zone.’

    Solar system planets are relatively widely spaced compared to this system, which is more closely related to Jupiter and its Galilean moons. Its sun is not much bigger than Jupiter.

  25. USteiner says:

    Hmm. In the first paragraph it says:

    Seven Earth-size alien worlds orbit the same tiny, dim star, and **all of them** may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports.

    Now it sounds even more like Budget Planets :-/

  26. oldbrew says:

    They’re tidally locked so one side faces their sun all the time. It’s dimmer than our Sun but the temp they reported is still 2550 K.

    ‘And it’s possible that, given the right atmospheric conditions, water — and, by extension, life as we know it — could exist on all seven,’ Gillon said.

    ‘Life’ could mean microbes or similar.

  27. oldmanK says:

    @ Richard111 says: February 24, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Yes, I know; I did not miss your intended meaning. However, on a wider perspective, it was always technology – the use of tools– that elevated humans from the rest. Technology has been abused many times with great destruction to humanity, but the underlying reason of that destruction was not technology but an ideology.

    We have changed a lot, so much so that we cannot go back to living as of old and survive. Without tools extinction is round the corner.

    Which means every living being is adapted to its planet/ecosystem – except us. (which means there is no such thing as a planet adapted to us).

  28. Paul Vaughan says:

    As in climate discussion (and elsewhere) the uniformity assumption is comical.
    Aliens would surely all agree (in implicitly assumed consensus) on what to do??
    Which pets recognize incomprehensibly multifaceted superiority? Imagine the politics! Imagine the dimensions and nuances of infiltration when agents are multifaceted. Words like “god” and “alien” capture only a near-zero fraction of the possibilities.

  29. oldbrew says:

    New Model: Nearby Exoplanet TRAPPIST-1e May Be Just Right for Life

    Tucked between a boiled-away desert and a giant snowball, an alien world called TRAPPIST-1e may be the only habitable planet in a newly discovered batch of seven, according to a new climate model.

    “It’s a really nice paper,” said Anthony Del Genio, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies who was not involved in the study. “To my knowledge, Eric [Wolf] is the first one to do this type of study for the TRAPPIST-1 system — certainly, he’s the first one to do a 3D study.”

  30. […] – we outlined to this ‘resonance chain’ (as they have now dubbed it) in an earlier post here at the Talkshop [see ‘Talkshop note’ in the linked post for […]

  31. oldbrew says:

    The data’s in for the outer planet.

    Another blog post seems likely.