The discovery of a similar planet to the Earth would generate a great impact and interest, especially if this planet could be habitable. But, where could we search for a planet with the necessary conditions to contain life? One of the places to search for habitable planets in the universe is the called habitable zone, also known as the “goldilocks zone”.
What is the habitable zone?
The habitable zone is the area around a star where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planets that orbit it. In this zone, the temperature isn’t too cold or too hot, and the conditions of the planet would make life possible on it. So, a planet found inside the habitable zone wouldn’t be too close to the star because its oceans would evaporate, but neither too far away, because in this case, all the water of the planet would freeze.
Every star has a different habitable zone. Therefore, the biggest and most luminous stars have a vast habitable zone that starts far away from the star. On the other hand, the habitable zone of the smallest and less bright stars is not very large and starts much closer to the star.
In the case of our solar system, the habitable zone starts just beyond the orbit of Venus and goes all the way to Mars’ orbit.
In general, the habitable of a star is one of the places in the universe we think the most about in terms of searching for life in it. However, the habitable zone is only useful as a reference, but not much more. For example, the fact that a planet is found in the habitable of a star doesn’t even mean it contains water, and much less that it contains life. In addition, water can exist in its liquid form beyond this zone due to different factors, such as geothermal phenomena, or due to the gravitational influence of a massive and nearby body (which is the case of some satellites that orbit Jupiter or Saturn).