Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Three earth-sized planets in newly discovered solar system could support life

The Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) robotic telescope which played a major role in the discovery of no less than seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. (LJMU/PA Wire)
The Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) robotic telescope which played a major role in the discovery of no less than seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. (LJMU/PA Wire)

LIFE may have evolved on at least three planets in a newly discovered solar system just 39 light years from Earth, scientists believe.

Astronomers have detected no less than seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1.

The six inner planets lie in a temperate zone where surface temperatures range from zero to 100C.

Of these, at least three are thought to be capable of having oceans, increasing the likelihood of life.

No other star system known contains such a large number of Earth-sized and probably rocky planets.

Seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1 which astronomers have detected in the newly discovered solar system just 39 light years from Earth. (NASA/PA Wire)
Seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1 which astronomers have detected in the newly discovered solar system just 39 light years from Earth. (NASA/PA Wire)

British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool John Moores University, who co-led the international team, said: “The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life.”

A robotic telescope operated by Liverpool John Moores University played a major role in the discovery reported in the journal Nature.

It was one of a number of ground-based instruments that supported observations made by American space agency Nasa’s orbiting Spitzer telescope.

The Liverpool telescope helped detect the planets as they passed in front of their star.

Dr Copperwheat said: “As a robotic telescope and the largest in the world, the Liverpool telescope is very sensitive to the small, less-than-1% dips in brightness through which the planets are discovered. It’s all automated, it’s flexible and fast, and so is ideal for this sort of time critical work.”

The planets were found using the “transit” method that looks for tiny amounts of dimming caused by a world blocking light from its star.

The Liverpool Telescope is located on La Palma in the Canary Islands.