8.2 TRAPPIST planets
With two successful discoveries by MEarth, other teams have also decided that cool stars are the way to go. The TRAPPIST survey (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) is operated by a team from the University of Liège in Belgium. It announced its first discovery in May 2016 – not one, but three Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby ultra-cool dwarf star. It doesn’t stop there: an additional four Earth-sized planets were later found in the same system. And, three of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could be in the habitable zone. You’ll learn more about this remarkable system, and other special exoplanets, next week.