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Astronomers from KU Leuven, Belgium, have shown that the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere of an exoplanet has major consequences for the temperature on the planet. This temperature, in turn, is a crucial element in the quest for habitable planets outside our Solar System.

In the quest for habitable planets outside our Solar System – also known as exoplanets – astronomers are currently focusing on rocky planets that don’t look like Earth. These planets orbit so-called M dwarfs – stars that are smaller than our Sun. In our universe, there are many more M dwarfs than there are sun-like stars, making it more likely that astronomers will discover the first habitable exoplanet around an M dwarf.

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