Clouds may keep exoplanets cool

Clouds may keep exoplanets cool

Even when close to their stars, other worlds could harbor liquid water

By Erin Wayman, 16:52 PM July 8, 2013

“Cloudy with a chance of life” is astronomers’ latest forecast for Earth-sized exoplanets, even if they tightly hug their stars.

Planets that sit too close to their stars should be sizzling hot and are tidally locked — one side of the planet always faces the star while the other side is always dark. But new climate simulations indicate that clouds can help mitigate the heat. On tidally locked Earth-sized planets that orbit red dwarfs, stars slightly smaller and cooler than the sun, clouds may ...

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