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Goldilocks Zone

NASA has reported the discovery of an Earth-size planet, named TOI 700 d, orbiting its star in the “habitable zone”.
 

Goldilocks Zone UPSC Legacy IAS Academy


Details:

  • A habitable zone, also called the “Goldilocks zone”, is the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets.
  • Our Earth is in the Sun’s Goldilocks zone. If Earth were where the dwarf planet Pluto is, all its water would freeze; on the other hand, if Earth were where Mercury is, all its water would boil off.
  • Life on Earth started in water, and water is a necessary ingredient for life as we know it.
  • So, when scientists search for the possibility of alien life, any rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of its star is an exciting find.

Backgrounds:

Exoplanet

  • An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the Solar System. The first confirmation of detection of exoplanet occurred in 1992.
  • Exoplanets are very hard to see directly with telescopes. They are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.
  • So, astronomers use other ways to detect and study exoplanets such as looking at the effects these planets have on the stars they orbit.

M-dwarfs

  • M dwarf or M-type star, also called Red Dwarf Star are the most numerous type of star in the universe and the smallest type of hydrogen-burning star.
  • These have masses from about 0.08 to 0.6 times that of the Sun.
  • In the Milky Way Galaxy, about 70% of the stars are red dwarfs.
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