Earth is closer to the edge of Sun's habitable zone

Only .01 AU from the too hot edge of the habitable zone?

Oh NO!

That suggests to me that we have less wiggle room to avoid the Venus Syndrome (runaway greenhouse effect) than we imagined. Earth's orbit obviously isn't going to shrink, but the greenhouse effect is a magnifier.

The Earth could be closer than previously thought to the inner edge of the Sun's habitable zone, according to a new study by planetary scientists in the US and France. The research also suggests that if our planet moved out of the habitable zone, it could lead to a "moist greenhouse" climate that could kick-start further drastic changes to the atmosphere.

A star's habitable zone is the set of orbits within which a planet could have liquid water on its surface – and being within this zone is considered to be an important prerequisite for the development of life.

The current consensus is that the Sun's habitable zone begins at about 0.95 astronomical units (AU), a comfortable distance from the Earth's orbit at 1 AU. However, this latest work by James Kasting and colleagues at Penn State University, NASA and the University of Bordeaux suggests that that inner edge of the zone is much further out at 0.99 AU. [emphasis mine]


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Tags: habitable zone, oceans boiling away

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