Habitable Zones & Global Climate: October 2015

Locating planets in circumstellar Habitable Zones is a priority for many exoplanet surveys. Space-based and ground-based surveys alike require robust toolsets to aid in target selection and mission planning.

The scientific interest in directly image and identifying Earth-like planets within the Habitable Zone (HZ) around nearby stars is driving the design of specialized direct imaging mission such as ACESAT, EXO-C, EXO-S and AFTA-C.

Astrophysical ionizing radiation events such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and solar proton events have been recognized as a potential threat to life on Earth.

A radiative-convective climate model is used to calculate stratospheric temperatures and water vapor concentrations for ozone-free atmospheres warmer than that of modern Earth.

Focusing on planets orbiting Red Dwarf (RD) stars, the most abundant stellar type, we show that including RDs as potential host stars could increase the probability of finding biotic planets by a factor of up to a thousand, and reduce the estimate of the distance to our nearest biotic neighbor by up to 10.

Powerful telescopes are coming soon. Where exactly shall we point them?

Exoplanet habitability is traditionally assessed by comparing a planet's semi-major axis to the location of its host star's "habitable zone," the shell around a star for which Earth-like planets can possess liquid surface water.