Scientists at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) simulated alternative arrangements of our solar system

Jupiter's orbit became more flattened — or 'eccentric' — it caused major changes in our planet's orbit as well

 The change caused by Jupiter's orbit — the solar system's most massive planet by far — could improve Earth's ability to support life

If Jupiter's position remained constant but the shape of its orbit changed

 Orbits move closer and farther away from their stars at different points in their orbit

 Proximity to a star determines how much radiation it receives and how it is hearted, which affects the climate of a planet

Jupiter's orbit became more eccentric, the team discovered that Earth's orbit would also become more eccentric

 Reaching temperatures in the habitable range — defined as 32 to 212 degrees 

Fahrenheit (0 to 100 degrees Celsius) — for Earth's diverse range of lifeforms

The researchers believe their findings will aid astronomers in determining which planets beyond our solar system

 The fact that a planet's distance from its star, as well as its variation, determines how much radiation different parts of it receive

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