You may have heard that astronomers made a big announcement today about a “discovery outside our solar system.”
Well: It wasn't aliens!
Astronomers reported the discovery of a solar system containing a dwarf star and seven rocky, dwarf planets just 39 light years away.
The bodies orbit an ultra cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1 in the constellation Aquarius. Several of the planets are located in what's known as the “habitable zone” — the Goldilocks region where it's thought water can exist and life can thrive.
TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool dwarf star, 10 times smaller and 2.5 times cooler than our own sun. In fact, it's more comparable to Jupiter than to the sun.
Even though the TRAPPIST-1 planets are Earth-like, the system is definitely an alien one. It's not clear what the likelihood of life might be in such a system.
NOTE: Even though they are called a dwarf star and dwarf planets they are not to be confused with these seven dwarves!