It is theorized that extraterrestrial life could be living on planets with a "terminator zone," an area of habitability between the warm daylight side and the cold, dark night side of planets that do not spin.
Scientists from the University of California, Irvine discovered exoplanets that possess a "terminator zone" that includes liquid water, an essential ingredient for life.
Ana Lobo, who conducted the study, remarked that these planets experience perpetual day and night, with the dayside being incredibly hot and the night side being incredibly cold, potentially freezing with large glaciers.
She stated that the ideal planet is one that has a temperature suitable for liquid water. They are attempting to emphasize the potential of planets that do not have oceans, but instead have lakes or other smaller bodies of water, as these conditions could be quite favorable.
Lobo pointed out that these planets are plentiful due to the fact that the stars in their vicinity make up about 70% of M-dwarf stars, which are visible in the night sky.
Terminator regions can experience incessant winds due to the disparity between the cold and hot hemispheres of the world. If the majority of the surface is composed of water, the water tends to evaporate, but this consequence is mitigated by land.
The UCI scientists ran a 3D global climate model to find out if it is feasible to keep a temperature variation significant enough for a terminator habitability scenario, and to assess the effects of terminator habitability on future climate analyses, as the study mentioned.
The authors' aim is not to accurately determine the outer limits of the habitable zone, as a variety of properties, such as the size of the planet and gravity at the surface, may affect this, but rather to investigate the ways in which the atmosphere changes in response to increased energy from the star and how this affects the climate on the surface, in order to decide if these conditions are suitable for life.
Aomawa Shields from UCI, a colleague of Lobo, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “Ana has demonstrated that if there is extensive land area on a planet, the 'terminator habitability' state is much more likely to exist. The curious and novel habitability conditions that our squad has been uncovering are no longer figments of the imagination — Ana has demonstrated that such states can maintain a stable climate.”