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Planetary Sciences

A super Earth in the habitable zone_animation gif
Image Credit: Ramon Brasser
A super Earth in the habitable zone_animation gif
Orbit diagram of the planetary system surrounding the K-dwarf star HD 40307. The grey area indicates the star's habitable zone. Notice that the outermost planet is right in the habitable zone.
The HD 40307 planetary system consists of six super Earth planets, with masses between 4 and 10 Earth masses. The system has five planets very close to the star and one much farther out. The outermost planet, planet g, is of interest because it lies in the star's habitable zone (grey area). Simulations indicate that the system is stable and that planet g may undergo frequent ice ages, just like the Earth. There are hundreds of other planets in the habitable zone of other stars that require further study. Here at the IAA we strive to be at the forefront to study how planetary dynamics affects the climate on habitable planets.
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