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TRAPPIST-1 Towards the comparative study of temperate terrestrial worlds

Date: 11-14 June 2019

Location: Liège, BE,

Forty light-years away in the Aquarius constellation lies a tiny Jupiter-sized star so cold that emits nearly no visible light, and so little massive that it is barely a star at all. Discovered in 1999, the feeble star remained overlooked until 2015, when an international team of astronomers observing it with the TRAPPIST robotic telescope discovered several Earth-sized worlds around it.

In 2017, more observations revealed that the star, nicknamed then TRAPPIST-1, is the host of an amazing compact system of seven terrestrial planets. Based on their rocky nature and on the amount of light that they receive from their star, at least three of these worlds are potentially habitable, i.e. could harbor water in liquid form, and maybe life, on their surfaces.

This miniature planetary system is unique in many ways: its sheer number of Earth-sized planets, their complex resonant dynamics, the very-low mass of their “ultracool” host star, and their suitability for atmospheric characterization. TRAPPIST-1 provides us with the unique opportunity to perform the detailed comparative study of seven temperate terrestrial exoplanets, and, maybe, to reveal the presence of life beyond our solar system.

This multidisciplinary conference aims to gather scientists involved or interested in the study of TRAPPIST-1, to enable them to share their most recent observational and theoretical results about the system, and to discuss its astrobiological importance and its future characterization with upcoming giant ground- and space-based facilities.

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