LONDON — A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge on Monday said that they had found three Earth-like planets that are the best wager so far for discovering life outside solar system.
The planets orbit a dim and cool star 40 light years from Earth which could be the best place to start searching for extra-terrestrial life, according the researchers.
Researchers used a telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, to see the star known as TRAPPIST-1, which is in the Aquarius group of stars, Xinhua reported.
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.
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.
“The discovery of a planetary system around such a small star opens up a brand new avenue for research,” Professor Didier Queloz from the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory said.
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.
Despite being just 40 light years from the Earth, this star is too dim and too red to be seen with the naked eye or even with a large amateur telescope.
“Before this discovery it was not at all clear whether such a small star could host an Earth-sized planet. Nobody had seriously studied it, but now that’s likely to change,” said Professor Queloz.
“Systems around these tiny stars are the only places where we can detect life on an Earth-sized exoplanet with our current technology,” said Michael Gillon, from the University of Liege in Belgium, who co-authored a paper on the new discovery with Professor Queloz.Follow @gorkhapost
Finance Committee meeting deferred until 1 pm today
KATHMANDU— The meeting of the Finance Committee under the House of Representatives that was scheduled at 9 am today has been postponed until 1 pm.
The meeting was put off for lack of a quorum, said Chairperson of committee Krishna Prasad Dahal. Until 9:30 am, only nine members of the 25-member committee were present in the meeting.
Issues relating to capital expenditures and non-budgetary release of fund were scheduled for discussion in the meeting.Follow @gorkhapost