The amount of energy it receives from TRAPPIST-1 is about the same as dwarf planet Ceres in our Solar System receives from the Sun.
The team had already predicted the orbital period of TRAPPIST-1h by studying the orbits of the six innermost planets.
Using data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, they noticed a mathematical pattern in the frequency at which the six planets orbit the star and the gravitational tug on the star caused by the orbits.
They used this information to infer the orbital properties of planet h.
“It really pleased me that TRAPPIST-1h was exactly where our team predicted it to be. It had me worried for a while that we were seeing what we wanted to see — after all, things are almost never exactly what you expect them to be in this field,” says Rodrigo Luger, lead author of the study.
“Nature usually surprises us at every turn, but, in this case, theory and observation matched perfectly.”