The discovery of a new solar system

The discovery of a solar system similar to our own is very exciting news, says Dr Emily Brunsden from the Department of Physics.

Artist’s impression: Researchers say that all seven planets could potentially support liquid water.

In light of the news that scientists have detected seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star, Dr Brunsden explains why this is a unique find:

“This discovery is so important because it gives us a fudge-factor in our calculations – at least one of these planets should be right for life as we understand it.

“The next two years are going to be really exciting, as we will have new telescopes to determine details like the compositions of the atmospheres of these and other earth-like planets. This could give us strong evidence for other life forms in our galaxy.

Astrocampus is the hub for astronomy and astrophysics at the University of York.

“Researchers have revealed the most Earth-sized planets identified in the same system. Even better, three are in the habitable zone of the host star – a distance where the planets are not too hot or not too cold so liquid water could exist. Because of the dynamics of the system, there could even be water on those further away also.

“The TRAPPIST-1 system is one of the most exciting exoplanet systems found to date, and one of the best chances we have of finding extra-terrestrial life.”

“Should we ever discover life beyond our planet it will change forever the way we think about ourselves and our place in the Universe.”

Did you know?

Generous donations from donors through YuFund and YuStart helped to fund our AstroCampus. Not only is this a valuable resource for University students, but the wider community can also explore the wonders of the Universe at the University of York’s observatory. With a wide range of telescopes and space-themed activities for all ages, the Astrocampus is open to groups and individuals throughout the year.