We're NASA scientists & exoplanet experts. Ask us anything about today's announcement of seven Earth-size planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1!
Today, Feb. 22, 2017, NASA announced the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
This discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.
At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.
We're a group of experts here to answer your questions about the discovery, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and our search for life beyond Earth. Please post your questions here. We'll be online from 3-5 p.m. EST (noon-2 p.m. PST, 20:00-22:00 UTC), and will sign our answers. Ask us anything!
UPDATE (5:02 p.m. EST): That's all the time we have for today. Thanks so much for all your great questions. Get more exoplanet news as it happens from http://twitter.com/PlanetQuest and https://exoplanets.nasa.gov
- Giada Arney, astrobiologist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Natalie Batalha, Kepler project scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
- Sean Carey, paper co-author, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC
- Julien de Wit, paper co-author, astronomer, MIT
- Michael Gillon, lead author, astronomer, University of Liège
- Doug Hudgins, astrophysics program scientist, NASA HQ
- Emmanuel Jehin, paper co-author, astronomer, Université de Liège
- Nikole Lewis, astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute
- Farisa Morales, bilingual exoplanet scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics, MIT
- Mike Werner, Spitzer project scientist, JPL
- Hannah Wakeford, exoplanet scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Liz Landau, JPL media relations specialist
- Arielle Samuelson, Exoplanet communications social media specialist
- Stephanie L. Smith, JPL social media lead