Exoplanets & Exomoons

UV Surface Environment of Earth-like Planets Orbiting FGKM Stars Through Geological Evolution

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
June 25, 2015
Filed under
UV Surface Environment of Earth-like Planets Orbiting FGKM Stars Through Geological Evolution

The UV environment of a host star affects the photochemistry in the atmosphere, and ultimately the surface UV environment for terrestrial planets and therefore the conditions for the origin and evolution of life.

We model the surface UV radiation environment for Earth-sized planets orbiting FGKM stars at the 1AU equivalent distance for Earth through its geological evolution. We explore four different types of atmospheres corresponding to an early Earth atmosphere at 3.9 Gyr ago and three atmospheres covering the rise of oxygen to present day levels at 2.0 Gyr ago, 0.8 Gyr ago and modern Earth (Following Kaltenegger et al. 2007). In addition to calculating the UV flux on the surface of the planet, we model the biologically effective irradiance, using DNA damage as a proxy for biological damage.

We find that a pre-biotic Earth (3.9 Gyr ago) orbiting an F0V star receives 6 times the biologically effective radiation as around the early Sun and 3520 times the modern Earth-Sun levels. A pre-biotic Earth orbiting GJ 581 (M3.5V) receives 300 times less biologically effective radiation, about 2 times modern Earth-Sun levels. The UV fluxes calculated here provide a grid of model UV environments during the evolution of an Earth-like planet orbiting a range of stars. These models can be used as inputs into photo-biological experiments and for pre-biotic chemistry and early life evolution experiments.

S. Rugheimer, A. Segura, L. Kaltenegger, D. Sasselov
(Submitted on 23 Jun 2015)

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: 2015 ApJ, 806, 137
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/806/1/137
Cite as: arXiv:1506.07200 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1506.07200v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Sarah Rugheimer
[v1] Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:13:22 GMT (694kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻