back to article PACK YOUR BAGS! Two Trappist-1 planets have watery oceans, most likely to be inhabitable

A team of scientists have identified two out of the seven planets in the Trappist-1 system as the most likely to be habitable, according to a new study. Since its discovery, announced earlier last year, the Trappist-1 system has been of great interest to astronomers – and anyone else sick of Earth, to be honest. A previous …

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Pint

But do they have Trappist beer ?

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But do they have Trappist beer ?

Oceans of the stuff. Oceans, I tell ya.

(Allegedly)

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And if so, how did they get the monks there?

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Monk parents?

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Anonymous Coward

"how did they get the monks there?"

... the Monk's have always been there (and have guided life there through its development)

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Alien

"And if so, how did they get the monks there?"

If only they'd used Vincent Ward's original script for Alien 3 we might have found out.

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Monk Parents?

Advanced enough for IV then. ISTR Trappist beer was responsible for many contraceptive effects.

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Pint

> But do they have Trappist beer ?

If they do

they are keeping quite about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite!

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Food chain

"most likely to be inhabitable"

So they almost certainly are already! And then humans arrive, and before we know it, we're a tasty snack for something extremely large, water-dwelling and hungry. Let's send our space-cowboy billionaires up there first to do a recce!

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Re: Food chain

More likely anything large and interesting will be hunted to extinction, if it is sentient, then they will govern it to extinction.

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Alien

Re: Food chain

"More likely anything large and interesting will be hunted to extinction, if it is sentient, then they will govern it to extinction."

Quite. If we were a race capable of interstellar travel (in useful time frames), the only chance life on other worlds would probably have is if it was much more advanced than us.

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Re: Food chain

"most likely to be inhabitable"

You've introduced an error there - the original quote "most likely to be habitable" was correct. But then Ms. KQ later makes the same mistake "it was believed that none of them were inhabitable at all..." Doh!

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Re: Food chain

@LeeE

"most likely to be inhabitable...Doh!"

Doh indeed. Inhabitable is a perfectly good word meaning the same as habitable. You seem to think it isn't.

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Re: Food chain

"Inflammable means flammable?"

- Dr Nick Riviera

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Re: Food chain

Habitable, inhabitable -- same confusion as flammable, inflammable. English is a crazy language, but it sure has a lot of words. It can afford redundancy.

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Re: Food chain

No send politicians British and US.

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Re: Food chain

English is a crazy language, but it sure has a lot of words

That's what happens when you chase other languages into a dark alley and mug them for their vocabulary..

(Also, ruling 1/3 of the earth..)

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"... and retain a good level of heat to avoid runaway greenhouse effects that would boil away any water."

Should that say, "... but avoid runaway ..."?

Does this mean they've modelled different possible atmospheres as well?

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Comment about the artwork...

One thing I never get: why does the artwork which is shown in these articles always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?

Take this one, you see a rather big planet right up the sky. Even though the star they orbit is comparable to our sun in size and the distance idemditto. So there's no way you'd get to see the sun as shown in the image shown in the article, yet here we are.

Now, I know that those images make for much more spectacular stuff and it may even do a much better job at triggering one's imagination. But still... why can't it never be an imagine which pictures a more probable (realistic) scenery?

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"why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

Because if people want to see a realistic looking alien world, they'll go to Anglesey.

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Re: Comment about the artwork...

Take this one, you see a rather big planet right up the sky. Even though the star they orbit is comparable to our sun in size and the distance idemditto. So there's no way you'd get to see the sun as shown in the image shown in the article, yet here we are.

The planets depicted in the art fall between the foreground planet and Trappist-1. The supposedly habitable-ish planets identified by this study are Trappist-1d and -1e. Therefore, the extreme scenario for the artwork would be an observer on the surface of -1e looking at potentially Trappist-1 and the planets -1b, -1c, and/or -1d.

**Trappist-1, a tiny M8V dwarf, is 0.121 times the diameter of the sun.

**Trappist-1b is 0.011AU from the star and 1.13x Earth's diameter (with rounding on both values)

**Trappist-1c is 0.015AU from the star and 1.1x Earth's diameter

**Trappist-1d is 0.021AU from the star and 0.788x Earth's diameter

**Trappist-1e is 0.028AU from the star, diameter irrelevant since I'm positing the observer is on the surface

For someone on -1e, the star Trappist-1 is 0.121 times Sol's absolute diameter but 35.7 times closer in the sky. Approximately speaking, Trappist-1 will appear (0.121 x 35.7) = 4.3 times larger in diameter than Sol and cover 18.7x more area. It will be a big globe in the sky, quite a bit larger than Sol or Luna. On the horizon, as depicted in the article's artwork, it could appear that big due to the moon illusion. Since the surface temperature is 2500K, it will be fairly easy to stare at, too, a modest "warm, soft white" color that invites lots of naked eye observation while the excess infrared light burns your retinas.

Meanwhile, the planets -1b, -1c, and -1d could appear sizable, too.

1b: Since the world is between the star and foreground planet, which I'm assuming is 1e, the distance is about 0.028 - 0.011 = 0.017AU. This is about 2.55 million kilometers, or 8 times the Earth-moon separation. 1b is, however, 1.13x Earth's diameter and 4.14x Luna's diameter. In this scenario, 1b could appear up to 4.14 / 8 = 0.51 times Luna's diameter in the sky - a distinct globe, but smaller than Luna. One notes the transiting planet is quite small compared to the star.

1c: From 1e, planet 1c would be 4.875x as distant as Luna but 4.03x as large. 1c could appear about 0.8x as large as Luna.

1d: From 1e, planet 1c would be 2.625x as distant as Luna but 2.9x as large. 1d could appear about 1.1x as large as Luna.

The star and two planets in the artwork fit within those proportions: 4.3x as large as Sol (or Luna), and 0.5 to 1.1x as large as Luna. The artist took some care with the proportions.

If the foreground planet is 1d, Trappist-1 would appear 5.76x Sol's diameter, and there'd still be 2 planets that could appear in the sky as depicted.

Overall, I'm going to say the artist wasn't too far off, especially if the Moon Illusion is applied.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

Or they could try Sheerness...

El reg is full of journalists with clip art libraries, not artists though - if you want that you will have to be referred to New Scientist magazine or similar (as long as you want interesting stuff that's not really IT related...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Comment about the artwork...

Big thumbs up, but you forgot the nerdy science icon!

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Re: Comment about the artwork...

Addendum: the article's depiction of Trappist-1 does fall prey to the common mistake of "red dwarfs must appear dim and red in the sky." In fact, a 2500K light source is going to appear fairly white. The surrounding sky and landscape might take on a different, dawn/dusk-like color, but the star itself will look white to human eyes. The following link is an excellent depiction of a red dwarf and its impact on landscape lighting, as well as having a good discussion and supporting references:

GJ 667Cc

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Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

Or a quarry in Devon, like where Blake's Seven found themselves repeatedly.

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Trollface

Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

Blaenau Ffestiniog.

"dywedodd digon"

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Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

They must of met Doctor Who there at some point

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Happy

Re: Comment about the artwork...

You NERD!!!

Thanks for the work - I was going to do this, you've saved me a lot of effort!

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Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

"of met"

Huh??

Phil.

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Re: Comment about the artwork...

And in fact, on any planet, the dominant star will appear white to creatures that evolved eyes while living on said planet.

Actually I imagine that humans moving to a truly red environment would adapt pretty quickly to perceive it as white - given that we can adapt to wearing "upside-down glasses"!

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Re: Comment about the artwork...

It will be a big globe in the sky, quite a bit larger than Sol or Luna

So - they have discovered Darkover? Quick - I want to go there to gain those interesting psionic genes..

Laran, here I come.

Even better if the other planet is Pern. Psionics *and* teleporting dragons..

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Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

I did hear a story once (on a Radio 4 documentary) that on one occasion they were filming Blake's 7 when they kept being interrupted by someone blowing stuff up over the other side of the quarry. They sent someone over to complain as they had been assured that no quarrying would be happening that day, and it turns out that Dr Who was to blame.

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Re: "why does the artwork always show a scenery which is pretty much unlikely?"

Yes, we get illiterate people on this site too...

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G2
Facepalm

error: spellcheck not available

"Celcius", really?

https://web.archive.org/web/20180124103250/https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/24/trappist1_planets_water_life/

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Re: error: spellcheck not available

Any fule knows that is is spelled centigrade.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: error: spellcheck not available

Conjugate the verb "to of"

Might of

Could of

Should of

Would of

Must of

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Coat

Re: error: spellcheck not available

> Any fule knows that is is spelled centigrade.

...Which is the offspring of a centipede and a plantigrade.

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Holmes

Trappist-1 ... cool white dwarf star. - Since when?

Trappist-1 is an "ultra-cool* red dwarf star" according to other more reliable sources. Nothing like what astronomers call a white dwarf.

The headline stating that two planets "have watery oceans" is definitely missing the "may" in front of "have". Deliberate click baiting? :(

* Ultra-cool refers to its surface temp. of ± 2500 K, not it dress sense.

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Re: Trappist-1 ... cool white dwarf star. - Since when?

Ultra-cool refers to its surface temp. of ± 2500 K, not it dress sense

So, Zaphod Beeblebrox-hot? He's so hip he can barely see over his pelvis.

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Joke

Re: Trappist-1 ... cool white dwarf star. - Since when?

So cool you could keep a side of meat in him for a week!

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They might be the right temp

but if there's no magnetic field, protecting the planets from solar radiation, any water will simply boil away and life wouldn't stand a chance.

>points to Mars

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Re: They might be the right temp

"Moderate amount of tidal heating" may mean the cores are actually still liquid while the planets not being gravitationally locked and so capable of sustaining a magnetic field...

Someone needs to go there and have a look...

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Re: They might be the right temp

Someone needs to go there and have a look.

And nuke the entire site from orbit...

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Re: They might be the right temp

circa 1.5 million year round trip to find out. I'm over it already.

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Windows

Re: They might be the right temp

@ Vladimir:

<tosses hand in air>

Me! Me! Me! Mister Kotter! Mister Kotter!.

Only so long as I can leave behind 99.999% of management and the triumphalist types.

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Re: They might be the right temp

"We're 35 light-years away, we have half a tank of gas and one pack of cigarettes. It's night and we're wearing sunglasses."

"Hit it!!!"

Sounds like a great road trip to me, we just need some good music in the background.

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Re: They might be the right temp

we just need some good music in the background

[Cues up Prog playlist].

Couple of tracks should do it..

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Pack the car folks...

Best set off now, given that it will take around 685,000 years to get there. By which time all this supposition will be a moot point anyway...

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Re: Pack the car folks...

Not if we all go!

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