ESO

Artistic representation of the TRAPPIST-1 system with its planets seen from one of them (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of a solar system with three rocky planets that orbit the star TRAPPIST-1, a really small ultra-cool dwarf. A team led by Michaël Gillon of the Institut d’Astrophysique et Géophysique at the University of Liège in Belgium, found these planets with sizes and surface temperatures similar to those of the Earth using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Artistic representation of the comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes a research about comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS), which was preserved in the Oort cloud for billions of years while maintaining almost the same features it had at the time of its formation. Its peculiarity is that it seems to be composed of the same materials of the inner areas of the solar system so it’s a kind of fossil of the times of the Earth’s formation.

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the detection of variations in the brightness of the famous white spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Using the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile they were observed showing for example a higher brightness during the day. One explanation is that they contain volatile materials that evaporate due to the sunlight.