Skip to main content

1 Star, 3 Exoplanets: The Potentially Habitable TRAPPIST-1 System in Images

TRAPPIST-1: An Alien Solar System

ESO/M. Kornmesser

On May 2, 2016, scientists announced the discovery of TRAPPIST-1, an alien solar system 40 light-years from Earth with a tiny, ultracool dwarf star and three small exoplanets that just might be habitable. See imaginary views of the TRAPPIST-1 system in this slideshow. HERE: An artist's view of the TRAPPIST-1 star system as seen from near one of the three alien planets circling their dim parent star. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

One Star, Three Worlds

ESO/M. Kornmesser

This artist's illustration depicts an imagined view from the surface of one of the three newfound TRAPPIST-1 alien planets. The planets have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth, making them the best targets yet for life beyond our solar system, scientists say. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

A Tiny, Cool Sun

ESO/M. Kornmesser/N. Risinger (

his artist's illustration depicts a view of the three TRAPPIST-1 system planets, with one of the worlds crossing the face of its sun. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

Three Possibly Habitable Planets

ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

Watch this video of the TRAPPIST-1 alien planets, which might be habitable.

TRAPPIST-1 vs. The Sun


This image shows a size comparison between Earth's sun (left) and the tiny, ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 located 40 light-years from Earth. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.



The TRAPPIST-1 alien planets and star system are located 40 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

La Silla: TRAPPIST's Home


The TRAPPIST-1 star system and planets were discovered by scientists using the TRAPPIST (short for TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) instrument at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, which is operated by the European Southern Observatory. Read our full story on the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

How Habitable Zones Around Stars Work (Infographics)

by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

The habitable zone around stars is a so-called Goldilocks' zone where conditions are just right for liquid water. See how habitable zones work in this infographic.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.