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Habitable Zones & Global Climate: September 2020


The near-term search for life beyond the solar system currently focuses on transiting planets orbiting small M dwarfs, and the challenges of detecting signs of life in their atmospheres.

When stars like our sun die, all that remains is an exposed core - a white dwarf. A planet orbiting a white dwarf presents a promising opportunity to determine if life can survive the death of its star, according to Cornell University researchers.

High levels of X-ray and UV activity on young M dwarfs may drive rapid atmospheric escape on temperate, terrestrial planets orbiting within the liquid water habitable zone.

The atmospheric circulation of tidally locked planets is dominated by a superrotating eastward equatorial jet.

Several concepts have been brought forward to determine where terrestrial planets are likely to remain habitable in multi-stellar environments. Isophote-based habitable zones, for instance, rely on insolation geometry to predict habitability, whereas Radiative Habitable Zones take the orbital motion of a potentially habitable planet into account.