They are in a group of at least seven planets orbiting a dwarf star called Trappist-1, in a newly discovered solar system 39 light years from us. A light-year is the distance light travels in a year. The telescope, which is located in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, helped detect the planets as they passed in front of their star.
Researchers believe no other known star system contains such a large number of Earth-sized and probably rocky planets. Trappist-1 lies in the Aquarius constellation and has just under a tenth of the mass of our Sun. The research, led by NASA and its orbiting Spitzer telescope, was supported by, among others, a robotic telescope operated by Liverpool John Moores University (JMU). The quest to discover definitively whether life could have been sustained elsewhere in the universe has been intensifying since the first planet outside our solar system was found in 1992. Since then, astronomers have recorded more than 3,500 worlds in 2,675 star systems.