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Exoplanet Discovery at TRAPPIST-1 Celebrated in Google Doodle

Google celebrated the discovery of seven Earth-size exoplanets around the star TRAPPIST-1 with an adorable Google Doodle on Feb. 22-23, 2017
Google celebrated the discovery of seven Earth-size exoplanets around the star TRAPPIST-1 with an adorable Google Doodle on Feb. 22-23, 2017 (Image credit: Google)

Scientists aren't the only ones excited about the discovery of seven Earth-size exoplanets around the star TRAPPIST-1. It turns out, the folks at Google are fans, too, and they celebrated with an adorable Google Doodle. 

The doodle shows an animation of Earth and the moon peering through a telescope only to find seven exoplanets waving right back. The moon, as you see here, is positively thrilled. The animated doodle is the creation of artist Nate Swinehart, according to a Google description.

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"This just in! Turns out it wasn't just dust on the telescope lens: NASA just announced the discovery of seven earth-size planets orbiting the same star only 235 trillion miles away," Google representatives wrote on the company's Google Doodle blog. "In space terms, that practically makes us next-door neighbors!"

The exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 system are 39 light-years away from Earth. Their discovery was announced Wednesday (Feb. 22) in a NASA press conference and the research is detailed in this week's edition of the journal Nature.


Not only are there at least seven Earth-size planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, three of those worlds are in what scientists call the "habitable zone" - a region around their star where the conditions are just right for liquid water to exist on a planetary surface. On Earth, liquid water is essential to life, so finding similar conditions for liquid water on other worlds is a major plus in the search for life on other potentially habitable worlds, NASA scientists have said. 

In case you're wondering, the TRAPPIST-1 planets do not have their own unique names yet (and likely won't for awhile). For now, they're called TRAPPIST-1b, TRAPPIST-1c, TRAPPIST-1d, TRAPPIST-1e, TRAPPIST-1f, TRAPPIST-1g and TRAPPIST-1h.

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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.