Eccentric habitable zone, illustration

Eccentric habitable zone, illustration

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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Eccentric habitable zone. Computer illustration showing a planet (left) with an eccentric orbit (blue line), which brings it into and out of the 'habitable zone' (green) around its sun (small, lower right). The habitable zone is the region around a star where liquid water, an essential ingredient for life as we know it, could potentially be present. Earth (upper right) always remains in its habitable zone. In an eccentric orbit the distance from the planet to the star varies, causing the planet to move in and out of the habitable zone as it travels around its sun. The planet moves through the habitable zone and then further out into a long, cold winter. During this phase any liquid water on the planet will freeze at the surface, however life could, in.

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Keywords: artwork, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, chz, circumstellar, eccentric, goldilocks zone, habitable zone, hz, illustration, life, no-one, nobody, orbit, orbiting, orbits, planet, planetary science, space, star, water

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