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Habitable Zones of Planets
written by Bradley S. Ambrose and Ramon Lopez
edited by Caroline Hall
This guided inquiry tutorial for upper-division physics and/or astronomy introduces students to various factors that influence the average surface temperature of a planet. First, students consider principles of blackbody radiation, using a crude model to deduce the relationship of equilibrium surface temperature of a planet and the intensity of solar radiation from its host star. The effects of albedo and greenhouse gases are then introduced into the conceptual model. Finally, students consider the "faint young sun paradox" -- how could liquid water have been present on an early Earthwhile the luminosity of the sun was significantly less than it is currently? Mathematics is integrated into each step of the tutorial. The tutorial also introduces the Proton-Proton chain through detailed illustrations to enhance understanding of energy conversion within the core of Earth's sun.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Exoplanets
= Properties
- Fundamentals
= Energy and Temperature
- The Sun
Modern Physics
- Nuclear Physics
= Nuclear Reactions
Quantum Physics
- Quantization
= Blackbody Radiation
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Kinetic and Diffusive Processes
= Boltzmann Equation
- Models
= Blackbody Radiation
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
= Tutorial
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- application/pdf
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Free access
© 2024 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
Exoplanet Temperatures, Faint Young Sun, Greenhouse Effect, Hydrogen Fusion, Nuclear Fusion, Solar Irradiance, Wien's Displacement, Wien's Displacement Law
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created April 12, 2024 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
May 11, 2024 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 12, 2024
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
B. Ambrose and R. Lopez, , 2024, WWW Document, (
B. Ambrose and R. Lopez, Habitable Zones of Planets, 2024, <>.
APA Format
Ambrose, B., & Lopez, R. (2024). Habitable Zones of Planets. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Ambrose, Bradley S., and Ramon Lopez. "Habitable Zones of Planets." Edited by Caroline Hall.. 2024. (accessed 28 May 2024).
MLA Format
Ambrose, Bradley S., and Ramon Lopez. Habitable Zones of Planets. 2024. 28 May 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@techreport{ Author = "Bradley S. Ambrose and Ramon Lopez", Title = {Habitable Zones of Planets}, Month = {April}, Year = {2024} }
Refer Export Format

%A Bradley S. Ambrose %A Ramon Lopez %T Habitable Zones of Planets %E Caroline Hall, (ed) %D April 12, 2024 %U %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Report %A Ambrose, Bradley S. %A Lopez, Ramon %D April 12, 2024 %T Habitable Zones of Planets %E Hall, Caroline %8 April 12, 2024 %U

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

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