In other news, we’d like to share that the TRAPPIST-1 system of seven planets has been found to be behaving in completely normal ways. While it had been thought from early measurements that the planets’ orbits were all kinds of out-of-alignment, a further study by folks at the NAOJ using the Subaru Telescope found that this solar system, like ours, has all the planets neatly orbiting in a disk. This work appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and was led by Teruyuki Hirano. This is a nice friendly confirmation that sometimes science acts exactly the way you expect. While this mystery has been erased, this system, and its potentially habitable worlds, still offers many questions we will be pursuing for years to come.
- National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) article
- “Evidence for Spin-Orbit Alignment in the TRAPPIST-1 System,” T. Hirano et al., 2020 Feb. 25, Astrophysical Journal Letters (Preprint on arxiv.org)