Earth and others lose status as Goldilocks worlds

11:25 30 January 2013 by Lisa Grossman

Bad news for Kepler-22b. Once deemed the most habitable world outside our solar system, it no longer looks life-friendly. More strangely, Earth’s habitability rating has also taken a hit. Both results are thanks to a redefinition of the habitable zone – the region around a star in which liquid water can theoretically exist.

Also known as the Goldilocks zone, because temperatures are “just right” for life there, the habitable zone is the main tool that exoplanet hunters have to rank their finds. But researchers are still using a definition coined in 1993. “Those habitable zones have not been updated in the last 20 years,” says Ravi Kopparapu of Penn State University.

Read more: Earth and others lose status as Goldilocks worlds – space – 30 January 2013 – New Scientist.

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