NASA / JPL-Caltech

The planets discovered are similar in size to Earth and are temperate, according to NASA astronomers who spoke at a press conference this afternoon. The exoplanets orbit a star called TRAPPIST-1, which is named after the telescope located in Chile used to find the seven planets. The star and the exoplanets are only about 40 light years or 235 trillion miles away from Earth.

Why this matters: These seven planets could potentially host life since they have equilibrium temperatures low enough to have liquid water on their surfaces. Three of them (TRAPPIST-1e, f, and g) are within the habitable zone of the star, and these three may even have oceans. This is the first opportunity to search for signs of biological life outside of the solar system, according to the NYT.

How did they find it? The results come from a photometric monitoring campaign of the star from the ground and space, according to the article on the study published today in Nature. The team noticed shadows interrupting the starlight, which ended up being these planets crossing over the telescope's view of the star

Next up: Finding gases to support life on these exoplanets will be key to upcoming research. The astronomers claim there is a good signal to noise ratio, which means studying the rocky planets' atmospheres will be feasible. The James Webb Telescope will launch next year, which will help with the research, along with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Top candidate: Although TRAPPIST-1f is a bit cooler than Earth, if it has the right atmosphere and enough greenhouse gases the researchers expect it to be the most likely candidate to support life, according to CNN's report. The star would appear three times as big as the sun in our sky on TRAPPIST-1f, and everything would likely be tinged with a salmon-colored light.

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!