Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Impacts of stellar evolution and dynamics on the habitable zone


Gallet et al


In this article, we aim to provide the community with the dependence of the habitable zone upon the stellar mass, metallicity, rotation, and for various prescriptions of the limits of the habitable zone. We use the STAREVOL code to study the evolution of the habitable zone and of the continuously habitable zone limits. Mass and metallicity are the stellar parameters that have the most dramatic effects on the habitable zone limits. Conversely, for a given stellar mass and metallicity, stellar rotation has only a marginal effect on these limits and does not modify the width of the habitable zone. The evolution of the habitable zone limits is also correlated to the evolution of the stellar activity (through the Rossby number) that depends on the stellar mass considered. While the magnetic activity has negligible consequence in the case of more massive stars, these effects may have a strong impact on the habitability of a planet around M dwarf stars. Thus, stellar activity cannot be neglected and may have strong impacts on the development of life during the early stage of the continuously habitable zone phase of low-mass stars. Using observed trends of stellar magnetic field strength we also constrain the planetary magnetic field (at the zero order) required for a sufficient magnetospheric protection during the whole stellar evolution. We explicit for the first time the systematic dependence of planet habitability on stellar parameters along the full evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars. These results can be used as physical inputs for a first order estimation of exoplanetary habitability.

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