Artist’s concept of a sunrise on a planet with 2 suns, via Shutterstock.
Planets orbiting in their stars’ Goldilocks zones or habitable zones are not too close and not too far from their stars. They’re in a place where water might exist as a liquid on a rocky planet. We tend to think of a planet in the Goldilocks zone of a single star, similar to Earth in our solar system. But what about multiple star systems? Do habitable zones exist in systems of two, three or more stars? Astronomers from New York University Abu Dhabi and the University of Washington show that it is indeed possible. Using a new mathematical model, they found that at least five such known systems – all within 6,000 light-years of Earth – have stable habitable zones where hypothetical planets could harbor life.
The peer-reviewed study was published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences on April 15, 2021, and reported in Frontiers Science News on the same day.
These findings are important because stable habitable zones would greatly increase the chances of life evolving on any planets that orbit within them. As lead author Nikolaos Georgakarakos said:
Life is far most likely ...