Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Effects of a Binary Companion Star on Habitability of Tidally Locked Planets around an M-type Host Star

By Keith Cowing
June 13, 2019
Filed under
Effects of a Binary Companion Star on Habitability of Tidally Locked Planets around an M-type Host Star
Tidally locked planets

Planets in the “Habitable Zones” around M-type stars are important targets for characterization in future observations.

Due to tidal-locking in synchronous spin-orbit rotations, the planets tend to have a hot dayside and a cold nightside.

On the cold nightside, water vapor transferred from the dayside can be frozen in (“cold trap”) or the major atmospheric constituent could also condense (“atmospheric collapse”) if the atmosphere is so thin that the heat re-distribution is not efficient, in the case of a single M-type star.

Motivated by the abundance of binary star systems, we investigate the effects of irradiation from a G-type companion star on the climate of a tidally locked planet around an M-type star using the 2D energy balance model. We find that the irradiation from the G-type star is more effective at warming up the nightside of the planet than the dayside. This contributes to the prevention of the irreversible trapping of water and atmosphere on the cold nightside, broadening the parameter space where tidally locked planets can maintain surface liquid water.

Tidally locked ocean planets with < ~ 0.3 bar atmospheres or land planets with < ~ 3 bar atmospheres can realize temperate climate with surface liquid water when they are also irradiated by a companion star with a separation of 1 - 4 au. We also demonstrate that planets with given properties can be in the Earth-like temperate climate regime or in a completely frozen state under the same total irradiation. Ayaka Okuya, Yuka Fujii, Shigeru Ida
(Submitted on 13 Jun 2019)

Comments: 28 pages, 15 figures, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1906.05844 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1906.05844v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ayaka Okuya
[v1] Thu, 13 Jun 2019 17:46:32 UTC (2,066 KB)

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) 🖖🏻