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.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.