NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 1 Feb 2023: Seven Earth-like worlds of TRAPPIST-1 | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 1 Feb 2023: Seven Earth-like worlds of TRAPPIST-1

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a stunning snapshot of a seven-world system which orbits a dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 01 2023, 19:25 IST
NASA warns of 5 asteroids rushing towards Earth; biggest is a 210-foot monster
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 BA4 - NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 BA4. The asteroid is expected to fly past Earth closely today, January 31, at a distance of 6.7 million kilometers. According to NASA, the asteroid is gigantic with a size 140 feet across. This space rock is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 28291 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 BQ2 - A relatively small asteroid with a size of 54 feet will fly past Earth by a very close margin today, January 31. The asteroid, named Asteroid 2023 BQ2, will make its closest approach with the planet at a distance of 2.1 million kilometers. The asteroid is travelling towards the planet at a blistering speed of 50122 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 AS1 – Another asteroid named 2023 AS1 will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 31, at a distance of 4.5 million kilometers. The asteroid, with a width of 78 feet, is travelling at a staggering speed of 22272 kilometers per hour towards the planet.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 BP6 - NASA has issued an alert against another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 BP6. According to NASA, it is the largest asteroid of the week with a width of nearly 210 feet. It is expected to fly past Earth closely tomorrow, February 1, at a distance of 2.6 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a speedy 35059 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2017 DU34 - The fifth asteroid which is set to make a close approach is named Asteroid 2017 DU34 is heading for Earth and is expected to pass by the planet closely on February 2. Asteroid 2017 DU34 is already on its way towards us travelling at a fearsome speed of 40160 kilometers per hour. The asteroid, with a width of 49 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 5.08 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
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TRAPPIST-1 is located just 40 light-years away from Earth, as per NASA. (NASA/Michael Carroll)

The TRAPPIST-1 system contains a total of seven known Earth-sized planets. Mankind has been in search of potential planets which could support life one day should the need to ever leave Earth arise. Although there are more planets in the Universe than you could ever imagine, they all have one or the other substance missing which makes our Blue Planet so unique. NASA, ESA, ISRO and other space agencies have been on the hunt to study planets not just in our solar system, but outside too.

In 2017, NASA announced the discovery of most Earth-sized planets found in the habitable zone of a single star just 40 light-years away from Earth, called TRAPPIST-1. It was named after the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Atlas Mountains of Morocco, which was used to discover the planetary system, according to NASA.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a stunning illustration of the seventh world in the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system. The illustration was done by Michael Carroll, the founding member of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts. The 7 rocky worlds in the planetary system have the potential for water on their surface due to the close proximity of their orbits with the dwarf star, where surface temperatures allow for the presence of ice or even liquid water. This makes the planetary system an exciting discovery in the search for life on other planets.

NASA's explanation of the illustration

Seven worlds orbit the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. A mere 40 light-years away, many of the exoplanets were discovered in 2016 using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) located in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and later confirmed with telescopes including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely all rocky and similar in size to Earth, and so compose one of the largest treasure troves of terrestrial planets ever detected around a single star.

Because they orbit very close to their faint, tiny star they could also have regions where surface temperatures allow for the presence of ice or even liquid water, a key ingredient for life. Their tantalizing proximity to Earth makes them prime candidates for future telescopic explorations of the atmospheres of potentially habitable planets. All seven exoplanets appear in the featured illustration, which imagines a view from the most distant known world of this system, TRAPPIST-1h, as having a rocky landscape covered in ice. Meanwhile, in the imagined background, one of the system's inner planets crosses in front of the dim, orange, nearly Jupiter-sized parent star.

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First Published Date: 01 Feb, 19:24 IST
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