This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

trappist 1 exoplanet ice water habitable eso1615aThis artist's impression shows an imagined view from the surface one of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory.ESO/M. Kornmesser

Seven rocky, Earth-size planets have been found circling TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf star about the size of Jupiter.

A few of the worlds might even be habitable.

The monumental discovery has prompted scientists to launch a website for the planetary system - and yes, it has an equally monumental domain: trappist.one.

Researchers inspired by the new planetary system, which is about 39 light-years from Earth, are using trappist.one to publish fiction, artwork, and even poetic prose about it.

One poem by Sean Raymond, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux who co-authored a study in Nature about the planetary system, caught our eye.

Called "Ode to 7 orbs", it beautifully explains the discovery and importance of TRAPPIST-1's seven planets.

Raymond gave Business Insider permission to share his work, which we've reproduced here with a few illustrative additions.

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"Ode to 7 orbs"

"Ode to 7 orbs"

Wake up now people, I've got some big news!
You won't want to miss this. You don't want to snooze
We just found some planets while we were stargazing
Gather 'round, listen up. These ones are amazing!

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

And it's not just one new planet. There are seven!
All orbiting one star up there in the heavens.
(With seven planets it still goes to eleven…)

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

The thing 'bout this system that just makes us squeal,
All seven are Earth-sized. Now, that's a big deal!
And four of those planets could have the conditions
For liquid water! (based on their positions)

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

"How did you find these new planets?" you ask
Well, let me first say it was no easy task
To start off, we made a long list of stars.
Then,
We measured their brightness again and again

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

Most of the stars just looked awfully boring
They stayed the same brightness. They weren't worth exploring.
The ones we were looking for had little blips
Their brightness stayed constant except for small dips

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

 

Each dip is a planet that, just as it passes
In front of the star, blocks some light from our glasses
The brightness we measure goes blip every time
The planet goes once around. Then it re-aligns.
(Another way that you can think of the dips:
Each blip is like a single tiny eclipse)

 

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

Armed with the star's brightness, we measured and figured
How big are the planets and how they're configured.

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This new star with planets is called TRAPPIST-1
It's not a star that is at all like the Sun
It's much much much smaller, and also less hot
Two thousand times fainter. (Now that is a lot).
An "ultracool dwarf" star they call it. And hey,
It’s just about 40-odd light years away.

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

The planets have letters for names. Now, you see,
From outside to in it’s h, g, f, e, d,
And, yes, as you guessed, after that, c and b
(The first one's called b. There is no planet a.
The "a" is reserved for the star, by the way).

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

 

All seven planets are close to their star.
They orbit real fast since they're not very far
Planet b's year: one and a half Earth days.
If you lived there you'd have all sorts of birthdays!

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

Stand on a planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system
Oh, the planets you'd see in the sky – you can't miss 'em!
Their orbits are so close that they'd each appear
As big as the full Moon! Bigger when they're near.
(Imagine the werewolf problem they must fear!)

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

The Sun in the sky would stay in the same place.
The planets always show the star the same face
The planets would shift and sometimes look like crescents
A peek at that sky's like an antidepressant!

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

The two inner planets, planets b and c.
Are too hot for oceans. Water would be steam.
But the next four planets: d, e, f, and g
Are all at about the right place for a sea.
They could have liquid water, although
We don't know if they even have H2 or O.

 

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

There's plenty of planets out there that are dry
Just look at that big red dot up in Earth's sky.
That's Mars, it's got water but only a trace
And Venus, of course, is a hot hot dry place

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

The planets' orbits were not set by chance
They seem to be following a cool cosmic dance
Take for example planets d and e
When e completes two orbits, d has done three.
They meet up again at the very same place
This orbital resonance is common in space.
Each pair of planets is in resonance. So,
It's like the whole system is doing a tango!

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

 

We think that a resonant configuration
Is a signpost of the planets' migration
That means that the planets' orbits shifted
While they were forming, inward they drifted.

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

One last cool thing I really want to say-o
TRAPPIST-1's actually linked with Galileo!
He discovered Jupiter’s four big old moons
That you can see with good binoculars too.
The TRAPPIST-1’s planets are much farther out
But take about the same time to go around.

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

 

Now let's wrap up with a ditty for later
It's written for you if you're a planet hater

"Planets", you say, "no big deal. There's a zillion.
Eight in our Solar System and a billion
In orbit around other stars in the sky
Why should I care about this one little guy?"

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

I'd answer your question with a look back at history
Discovering new planets may help solve a big mystery.
Are we all alone? Is there other smart life?
(Do I have an alien doppelganger and wife?)

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

It's not at all simple. But here's a suggestion
Any life out there will need its own planet
Maybe with oceans or ice caps or granite.

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

This astronomer's poem beautifully explains the monumental discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets

We now have the telescopes, tools and techniques
To find other planets and take a sneak peak
To try to find out if the Earth is unique.

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