The galactic neighborhood just got more crowded. Astronomers have found 20 previously unknown star systems that lie within 33 light-years of Earth. All the stars are faint, low-mass objects called red dwarfs, which rank among the most prevalent stars in the Milky Way.
The team discovered the star systems—2 triplets, 3 pairs, and 15 single stars—using a telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory near La Serena, Chile. Since 1999, the astronomers have been monitoring hundreds of stars, looking for motions indicating that some might lie close to the solar system.