TRAPPIST-1 twice as old as our solar system

TRAPPIST-1 twice as old as our solar system

TRAPPIST-1 twice as old as our solar system

Now, with this new finding, scientists look out for exploring the possibility of life outside earth with seven Earth-size planets orbiting this ultra-cool dwarf star about 40 light-years away.

Much has been said about the "ultra-cool dwarf star" that is hosting the planetary system, but the noise around it had sort of faded - until now.

The nearby Trappist-1 star system could be up to twice as old as our own, a new study has found.

"If there is life on these planets, I would speculate that it has to be hardy life, because it has to be able to survive some potentially dire scenarios for billions of years", Burgasser said.

At up to 9.8 billion years old, Trappist-1 could be double the age of our solar system, which formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago.

The system's seniority means the planets have had plenty of time to potentially evolve life, but it also means said life would have had to survive a diverse array of disruptions.

According to a team of worldwide scientists from the University of California, San Diego, the approximate age of TRAPPIST-1 is 5.4 to 9.8 billion years, whereas our planetary system was formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Follow-up observations from the Kepler astronomical instrument allowed researchers to figure out how the planets maintain their orbits so close to the stars.

The stars are relatively tame so frequent stellar activity in the form of solar flares would not make the planets less hospitable, as is the case with TRAPPIST-1. Others have shared concerns that the planetary orbits of the TRAPPIST-1 system are unstable.

With this discovery, three out of the seven planets were found to be positioned within the habitable zone of the star, the orbital distance where a rocky planet with an atmosphere could have liquid water on its surface.

While this may be a promising factor in the search for life, it isn't the only thing that must be considered, the researchers explain.

However, fortunately for any life on the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, the star is quieter than others of its kind.

The researchers say a low-mass star such as Trappist-1 could exist for a very long time, even longer than our sun.

However, old age does not necessarily mean that a planet's atmosphere has been eroded, said Eric Mamajek, deputy programme scientist for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Programme.

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star, not a yellow dwarf star like the Sun.

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