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Oregon Astronomer Plans To Check Out New Star With 7 Exoplanets

<p>TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.</p>

NASA

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TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.

Stargazers are buzzing about the discovery of seven earth-sized planets rotating around a single star, 40 light years away.

It’s right at the edge of what the moderately sized telescope at the Pine Mountain observatory in Central Oregon can detect.

But astronomer Scott Fisher said he’ll be showing students the star this summer.

“In my Astronomy 122 class, that I’m teaching here at , the entire term we’ve been talking about exoplanets," Fisher said. "So this new discovery just reinforces the fact that astronomy is happening now. It’s not just something that happened a hundred years ago. But we’re making big discoveries right now."

It’s unclear when, if ever, missions might be sent to investigate such exoplanets.

With current technology, it could take 100,000 years to complete a one-way journey.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.