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Google Doodle celebrates Trappist-1 planetary discovery

The incredible discovery of seven Earth-like planets in a single star system is being signal-boosted by a celebratory Doodle.

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Here's how Google sees the Trappist-1 discovery.

Google

Dwarf star Trappist-1 is tiny, just a little bigger than Jupiter, but it's making huge news. As you've probably heard, it's home to not just three Earth-like exoplanets, but a staggering seven, three of which could have oceans of water, just like Earth. And it's only 39 light-years away, which means the planets are close enough that we could find out.

Usually Google Doodles are set up in advance to celebrate anniversaries and other occasions. But this time around the web giant pulled out all the stops and did a super quick turnaround to help commemorate this discovery, announced Wednesday, with an animated Doodle.

Telescopes are already turning their attention to the system, homing in on the planets' atmospheres. As the planets pass in front of the star, the atmospheres are back-lit, which allows spectroscopic analysis of their chemical composition, which in turn will help us Earthlings determine whether there's liquid water. This may be a bit difficult, as the star is very faint, but with a new generation of telescopes seeing first light in the near future, Trappist-1's secrets might not be so far away either.

In the meantime, you can play with an interactive model of the system on NASA's website.