Half the battle in finding alien life is knowing where to look – and we might be missing some key places. Fresh research has found that planets orbiting hotheaded young stars may have the right stuff for life, increasing the number of places in the universe with that possibility.
A planet is considered habitable when it is small and dense enough to have a rocky surface, and the right distance from its star to host liquid water – a region dubbed the "habitable zone".
But stars don't have the same temperature throughout their lives. In their youths, before they reach a stable rate of nuclear fusion, stars burn hotter and up to 180 times as brightly as their mature counterparts, meaning their habitable zones are further away.
Because this fiery phase is temporary, astronomers had so far only considered the habitability of planets orbiting mature stars. But now, Lisa Kaltenegger and Ramses Ramirez at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, suggest that some of these young hotheads could host life-bearing planets after all.To read more, click here.