• Orange and red dwarf stars have been found to host more Earth-sized planets, and they are far and away the most abundant. They make up more than 75 percent of the stars in our universe, and nearly every red dwarf star has at least one exoplanet.
  • But there’s a potentially fatal flaw here: When exoplanets orbiting these stars are the right distance to hold liquid water, they tend suffer from what astronomers call rotational lockup. Much like how one side of our Moon always faces the Earth, one side of the planet always faces its star.
  • Here comes some good news, though. A team of astrophysicists has announced that this thinking could be wrong—rotational lockup is not necessarily the rule for these exoplanets. As they report in the journal Science, the simple existence of an atmosphere (even one as thin as Earth’s) can keep a planet twirling and habitable.

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