It’s a dim bulb of a star, but its weak light may fall on living beings.

TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf star that’s a short 39 light-years distant, is hitting the headlines again. It was in the news last year because of the discovery of three accompanying planets. Now a team of astronomers has found four additional worlds in orbit around this ruddy sun.

Remarkably, these planets are of a type that would make them candidates for hosting the dirty chemistry we call “life.” All are roughly the size of Earth, and all receive an amount of sunlight that might make for tolerable temperatures, depending on their atmospheres (if any).

Mind you, this is a planetary system rather unlike our own. It’s more compact than a bonsai bush, and if we could arrange to move all seven of these worlds to our own solar system, they…