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Habitable Zones & Global Climate: October 2020


TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was launched in 2018 with the goal of discovering small planets around the Sun's nearest neighbors, stars bright enough to allow for follow-up characterizations of their planets' masses and atmospheres.

Observations of exoplanets and protoplanetary disks show that binary stellar systems can host planets in stable orbits. Given the high binary fraction among stars, the contribution of binary systems to Galactic habitability should be quantified.

From life on other planets to virtual classrooms this thesis spans a wide array of research topics all based on how we see other worlds. Our understanding of everything from moon phases, the planets in our Solar System, and exoplanet atmospheres come from our interpretation of light and one day, our knowledge of light will be used as evidence for the discovery of life on another planet.

Earth is not necessarily the best planet in the universe. Researchers have identified two dozen planets outside our solar system that may have conditions more suitable for life than our own. Some of these orbit stars that may be better than even our sun.

We examine the effect of varying background N2 surface pressure (labelled as pN2) on the inner edge of the habitable zone for 1:1 tidally locked planets around M dwarfs, using the three-dimensional (3D) atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) ExoCAM. In our experiments, the rotation period is fixed when varying the stellar flux, in order to more clearly isolate the role of pN2.