The discovery of a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away was made possible by a team of astronomers from across the world.
The research, published in Nature, was led by the STAR Institute at the University of Liège. It used orbiting NASA Spitzer Space Telescope in addition to ground-based facilities including the Liverpool Telescope, owned and operated by the Liverpool John Moores University Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI).
The Liverpool Telescope helped to detect the planets as they passed in front of their parent star, the ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. At least three of the planets could harbour oceans of water on their surfaces, increasing the possibility that the star system may play host to life. This system has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets yet found, making it a key object for future study.