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.
Todd Henry of Georgia State University in Atlanta and his colleagues describe their find