7 Whole New Worlds

A record-breaking number of Earth-sized planets orbit a faint star in a nearby galaxy.

Imagine looking up at the night sky and seeing planets looming larger than our moon. It sounds like science fiction, but astronomers discovered it could be reality for the TRAPPIST-1 system, which boasts seven Earth-sized worlds — a record. Some orbit almost as close to each other as the moon is from Earth. In May 2016, members of the Belgian TRAPPIST team announced their small telescope had turned up three potentially habitable planets orbiting a star just 40 light-years away. Then the...

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