Seven Earth-sized planets found orbiting TRAPPIST-1

News in the international science media has been dominated this week by the ground-breaking discovery of seven potentially habitable Earth-sized planets orbiting the red-dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, which lies only 39 light years from the solar system.

One of the key members of the team is Dr Amaury Triaud, currently a senior research fellow at Cambridge, but soon to be a faculty member at Birmingham. In August, Dr Triaud will be joining the Solar & Stellar Physics Group in the School of Physics & Astronomy, having secured one of the University's prestigious Birmingham Fellowships. 

Commenting on his upcoming arrival in Birmingham, Dr Triaud said: “I am looking forward joining the faculty at Birmingham. The research group is a leader in understanding stars. To study planets properly one needs to understand the star first. Joining forces will create a wonderful synergy out of which I am certain that great science will be produced."

trappist-system-illustration-caltech-nasa
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt, T. Pyle (IPAC)

Professor Bill Chaplin, who leads the group in Birmingham, commented, "Amaury's arrival in Birmingham opens a whole new range of exciting opportunities for us in the exoplanets area." 

Looking to the future, Dr Triaud added: "Studying planetary systems like TRAPPIST-1 is only the beginning. In the next five  years, SPECULOOS, a set of newly-built telescope of which TRAPPIST was the prototype, will likely discover a dozen planetary systems, each composed of multiple planets. Soon we will be able to explore the diversity of the climate of terrestrial worlds beyond the Solar system."