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Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, where should astronomers look for infant Earths where life might develop? New research from Cornell University's Institute for Pale Blue Dots shows where -- and when -- infant Earths are most likely to be found.

The paper by research associate Ramses M. Ramirez and director Lisa Kaltenegger, "The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main-Sequence Stars" will be published in the Jan. 1, 2015, issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"The search for new, habitable worlds is one of the most exciting things human beings are doing today and finding infant Earths will add another fascinating piece to the puzzle of how 'Pale Blue Dots' work" says Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy in Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences.

The researchers found that on young worlds the Habitable Zone -- the orbital region where water can be liquid on the surface of a planet and where signals of life in the atmosphere can be detected with telescopes -- turns out to be located further away from the young stars these worlds orbit than previously thought.

"This increased distance from their stars means these infant planets should be able to be seen early on by the next generation of ground-based telescopes," says Ramirez. "They are easier to spot when the Habitable Zone is farther out, so we can catch them when their star is really young."

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