Image: NASA, artist depiction of the TRAPPIST-1 system, from NASA article.

NASA continues to search space for rocky planets orbiting nearby stars with the Kepler Space Telescope. Two such planets found by Kepler orbit the star TRAPPIST-1, a brown-dwarf 40 light-years from Earth, lie just outside the ideal "Goldilocks Zone" where water can exist in liquid for on the planet’s surface.

This Goldilocks Zone is much closer to TRAPPIST-1 since brown dwarf are much cooler than main sequence stars, because they have used up most of their fuel. In fact this planetary system is more similar to Jupiter and its moons. These planets have been found to similar sizes and surface temperatures to Earth and Venus. Although, the planets are not in the Goldilocks Zone, there may be places and environments where life could exist. Two planets transited TRAPPIST-1 on May 4, an event which only happens once every two years, and allowed astronomers to use the Hubble Space Telescope to observe to the atmospheres of the planets in search of water vapour by analysing the spectra given off. No details on this observation have been released as of yet.

Read more at NASA's website

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