Assessing Circumbinary Habitable Zones using Latitudinal Energy Balance Modelling

Previous attempts to describe circumbinary habitable zones have been concerned with the spatial extent of the zone, calculated analytically according to the combined radiation field of both stars.

By contrast to these "spatial HZs", we present a numerical analysis of the "orbital HZ", a habitable zone defined as a function of planet orbital elements. This orbital HZ is better equipped to handle (for example) eccentric planet orbits, and is more directly connected to the data returned by exoplanet observations.

Producing an orbital HZ requires a large number of climate simulations to be run to investigate the parameter space - we achieve this using Latitudinal Energy Balance Models (LEBMs), which handle the insolation of the planet by both stars (including mutual eclipses), as well as the planetary atmosphere's ability to absorb, transfer and lose heat.

We present orbital HZs for several known circumbinary planetary systems: Kepler-16, Kepler-34, Kepler-35, Kepler-47 and PH-1. Generally, the orbital HZs at zero eccentricity are consistent with spatial HZs derived by other authors, although we detect some signatures of variability that coincide with resonances between the binary and planet orbital periods. We confirm that Earthlike planets around Kepler-47 with Kepler-47c's orbital parameters could possess liquid water, despite current uncertainties regarding its eccentricity. Kepler-16b is found to be outside the habitable zone, as well as the other circumbinary planets investigated.

Duncan Forgan (Submitted on 14 Oct 2013)

Comments: 10 pages, 17 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1310.3611 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1310.3611v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Duncan Forgan Dr [v1] Mon, 14 Oct 2013 09:54:04 GMT (217kb)

Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.


  • submit to reddit