Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×
Space Science

Tidal Heating Shrinks Goldilocks Zone Around Red Dwarfs 70

scibri writes "An overlooked factor could shrink the habitable zone for planets around M-class dwarf stars by as much as 50%. For these smaller, cooler stars, the habitable zone was thought to extend to relatively close orbits. But as you get closer to a star, the tidal force it exerts on a planet increases. Since planets do not have perfectly circular orbits, tidal forces cause the planet to flex and unflex each time it moves closer to or further from its star; kneading its interior to produce massive quantities of frictional heat — enough to scour the planet of any liquid water. Because M-class dwarf stars are the most numerous in the galaxy, and close-in planets are easier to spot than more distant ones, such stars have been a major target for planet hunters seeking Earth-like worlds. But now it seems we may have been looking in the wrong place for Earth's twin."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tidal Heating Shrinks Goldilocks Zone Around Red Dwarfs

Comments Filter:

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982