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Scientists discover 3 planets which could support life
Scientists from the University of Cambridge announced Monday evening that they had discovered three earth-sized planets orbiting a dim and cool star 40 light years from Earth which could be the best place to start searching for extra-terrestrial life.
London: Scientists from the University of Cambridge announced Monday evening that they had discovered three earth-sized planets orbiting a dim and cool star 40 light years from Earth which could be the best place to start searching for extra-terrestrial life.
"The discovery of a planetary system around such a small star opens up a brand new avenue for research," said Professor Didier Queloz from the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory.
Scientists used a telescope at the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, to view the star known as TRAPPIST-1, which is in the Aquarius constellation, Xinhua reported.
They found that this dim and cool star faded slightly at regular intervals, indicating that several objects were transiting or passing between the star and the Earth.
Detailed analysis showed that there were three planets of a similar size with the Earth. TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool dwarf star and as such is much cooler and redder than the Sun and is barely larger than Jupiter.
Such stars are very common in the Milky Way and very long-lived but this is the first time that planets have been found around one of them.