Friday, February 14, 2014

Tests for Whether or not HD 204313 has a Terrestrial Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone

A dynamical test for terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of HD 204313


Thilliez et al


With improvements in exoplanet detection techniques, the number of multiple planet systems discovered is increasing, while the detection of potentially habitable Earth-mass planets remains complicated and thus requires new search strategies. Dynamical studies of known multiple planet systems are therefore a vital tool in the search for stable and habitable planet candidates. Here, we present a dynamical study of the three-planet system HD 204313 to determine whether it could harbour an Earth-like planet within its habitable zone for a sufficient time to develop life. We found two semi-stable regions in the system, but neither prove stable for long enough for a terrestrial planet to develop life. Our investigations suggest that overlapping weak and high order resonances may be responsible for these semi-stable regions. This study established a framework for a larger project that will study the dynamical stability of the habitable zone of multiple planet systems, providing a list of interesting targets for future habitable low-mass planet searches.

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