Astronomers from the University of Liege discover new planetary system
Tuesday, 03 May 2016
An international team led by astronomers from the University of Liège and based in Chile has detected three so-called exo-planets similar to Earth. So announced the Liège university on Monday. The discovery of this new planetary system, indeed a global first, will allow research to take place for signs of life, around other stars than just the sun.
The three planets orbit around a small star, which is colder than the sun and therefore invisible to the naked eye. The star is situated some 40 light-years from the earth, the l’ULg enlightens us. The presence of water on the surface of each planet is theoretically possible as they appear to thrive on characteristics similar to Venus and the earth.
The most recent generation of telescopes are in the process of studying the make-up of these atmosphères and exoplanets, the university took great pride in saying.
“They are close to their star, but their irradiation nevertheless makes possible temperature conditions which are conducive to life,” Julien de Wit, a post-doctoral expert in exoplanetary atmospheres (from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) stated. He took this further, “It is a major step in researching life within the Universe.”
The so-called TRAPPIST telescope (“TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope”) belonging to the Université de Liège, which has been located in Chile since 2010, made this discovery possible. The TRAPPIST telescope is part of the SPECULOOS (“Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars”) project. “The objective is to detect planets resembling the earth, which orbit around smaller stars, and with colder temperatures than the other nearly solar locations,” Michaël Gillon, a ULg astronomer, illuminates.