Step 4 - Temperature and Habitability
To this day, Earth is the only place in the universe that is known to host life. It is also unknown if life could develop and exist in conditions very dissimilar to the ones that exist on our planet. When examining exoplanets and defining the possible conditions for habitability, scientists try to identify similar conditions to Earth, like temperature.
The temperature of a planet is mostly defined by its distance to its host star and by the presence of an atmosphere. An important factor to be considered for habitability is temperature. When a planet orbits a star at a distance where liquid water can be present, the planet is in the habitable zone of the star.
Watch the video to learn more, complete your calculations and then check your solutions with our expert. When you’re ready to continue to the next step, return to this page and click “continue the investigation“.
Watch the video on exoplanet temperature and habitability:
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Ready for the KELT-3b solution?
Have you discussed the temperature and habitability of KELT-3b? Check below to see whether your conclusions matched our expert’s solution for determining the habitability of KELT-3b.
Let’s now discuss KELT-3b as an example.
Figure 1: Diagram presenting the planets’ size and temperature versus the distance to its host star. The planets’ size and distance are represented with two different scales.
As seen in Figure 1, KELT-3b is unlikely to host life because it is too close to its host star, making its surface temperature very high, above the melting point of iron. Most amino acids, the building blocks of life, would not survive such extreme temperatures.
The planet is also bombarded by high levels of radiation because of its very close distance to its host star.
Do you think your exoplanet is in the habitable zone of its host star?
Step 4 Completed!
Your Investigation Progress
Have you analysed the data and determined the temperature and habitability of your exoplanet? If yes, you can continue your investigation into the exoplanet’s properties with Step 5 – the composition of an exoplanet!