Physics, Earth & Space Icon Physics, Earth & Space

The Circumstellar Habitable Zone Just Shrank

On a new episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards speaks with astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez about new research just reported in The Astrophysical Journal. Download the podcast or listen to it here.

The research suggests that the circumstellar habitable zone for terrestrial planets around stars is narrower than previously thought. This zone around stars, often referred to as the “goldilocks zone,” is where planets are not too hot and not too cold to support liquid water on the surface and, with it, complex life. But there’s another factor, previously underappreciated, which greatly curtails how much further a planet can be situated from its host star without running into trouble. It makes Earth’s position that much more fine-tuned for life and, as Richards and Gonzalez discuss, may also strengthen the design argument they advance in their book The Privileged Planet, now available as an audiobook.

Photo: “Chandra Detects a Coronal Mass Ejection From Another Star,” via NASA.