NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the seven planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star. Over 21 days, the Spitzer Space Telescope measured the drop in light as each planet passed in front of the star. The seven rocky planets include three in the habitable zone where liquid water might be found. This animation visualizes the change in light as each planet passes in front of its star, allowing measurement of the planets' size, distance from their sun and, for some, their approximate mass and density. It also established that some, if not all, of these planets are tidally locked, meaning one face of the planet permanently faces their sun. The system has been revealed through observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope.
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