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Starry night invites to go out and look to the stars.jpg
Part ofLa Silla Observatory
Oukaïmeden Observatory Edit this on Wikidata
Location(s)Coquimbo Region, Chile Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates29°15′17″S 70°44′22″W / 29.2546°S 70.7394°W / -29.2546; -70.7394Coordinates: 29°15′17″S 70°44′22″W / 29.2546°S 70.7394°W / -29.2546; -70.7394 Edit this at Wikidata
Observatory codeI40 Edit this on Wikidata
Altitude2,400 m (7,900 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Telescope styleOptical telescope
Robotic telescope Edit this on Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata
TRAPPIST is located in Chile
Location of TRAPPIST

The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) is the corporate name for a pair of Belgian optic robotic telescopes. TRAPPIST–South, which is situated high in the Chilean mountains at ESO's La Silla Observatory, came online in 2010, and TRAPPIST–North situated at the Oukaïmden Observatory in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, came online in 2016.[1]

The backronym TRAPPIST is a reference to the famous Trappist beer.[2]

TRAPPIST is controlled from Liege, Belgium, with some autonomous features. It consists of two 60 cm (0.60 m or 23.5″) reflecting robotic telescopes located at the ESO La Silla Observatory (housed in the dome of the retired Swiss T70 telescope) in Chile and at Oukaïmden Observatory in Morocco.

The telescope condominium is a joint venture between the University of Liège, Belgium, and Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, and among other tasks, it specializes in searching for comets and exoplanets.[3][4]

In November 2010, it was one of the few telescopes that observed a stellar occultation of the planetary body Eris, revealing that it may be smaller than Pluto, and it helped observe a stellar occultation by Makemake, when it passed in front of the star NOMAD 1181-0235723. The observations of this event showed it lacked a significant atmosphere.[4][5]

A team of astronomers headed by Michaël Gillon, of the Institut d’Astrophysique et Géophysique at the University of Liège in Belgium, used the telescope to observe the ultracool dwarf star 2MASS J23062928-0502285, now also known as TRAPPIST-1. By utilising transit photometry, they discovered seven terrestrial planets, at least three of which were Earth-sized, orbiting the star; the innermost two were found to be tidally locked to their host star while the outermost appears to lie either within the system's habitable zone or just outside of it.[6][7] The team published its findings in the May 2016 issue of the Nature journal.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TRAPPIST-1". Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  2. ^ "New National Telescope at La Silla—TRAPPIST to Scout the Sky and Uncover Exoplanets and Comets". European Southern Observatory (ESO 1023 — Organisation Release). 8 June 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  3. ^ "TRAPPIST telescope to scout the sky and uncover exoplanets and comets". Science Daily. June 9, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Beatty, Kelly (8 November 2010). "Former 'tenth planet' may be smaller than Pluto". New Scientist. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Dwarf Planet Makemake Lacks Atmosphere". European Southern Observatory (ESO 1246). 21 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Ultracool Dwarf Star - Currently the best place to search for life beyond the Solar System". European Southern Observatory. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Three New Planets Are the Best Bets for Life". Popular Mechanics. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  8. ^ Gillon, Michaël; et al. (12 May 2016). "Temperate Earth-sized planets transiting a nearby ultracool dwarf star". Nature. 533 (7602): 221–224. arXiv:1605.07211. Bibcode:2016Natur.533..221G. doi:10.1038/nature17448. PMC 5321506. Retrieved 22 February 2017.

External links[edit]