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Published on Feb 8, 2017
In this conceptual animation, X-ray and extreme ultraviolet light from a young red dwarf star cause ions to escape from an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Scientists have developed a model that estimates the oxygen ion escape rate on planets around red dwarfs, which plays an important role in determining an exoplanet’s habitability. To determine a star’s habitable zone, scientists have traditionally considered how much heat the star emits. Stars more massive than our sun produce more heat and light, so the habitable zone must be farther out. Smaller, cooler stars yield close-in habitable zones.
Credit: NASA Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab, Michael Lentz, animator/Genna Duberstein, producer