Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

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Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

Post by forest on 14th February 2011, 7:36 am

The Sun is a G2 dwarf and is the only star known to host a habitable Earth-like planet. However, what I am wondering is what is the range of stellar spectral types around which planets akin to our might dwell? Obviously, if you head in the direction of the bigger stars, then the relatively short stellar lifetimes cut into the time available for lifeforms to evolves, whereas if you head in the direction of smaller stars (e.g. M dwarfs), then issues like tidal-locking, smaller habitable zone, and intense solar flarings all become problems to contend with. Here is my speculation: The range of stellar spectral types that may host habitable Earth-like planets is between spectral type F2 and K6. The late G and early K stars probably host the majority of habitable planets of all of the stars in this subset (F2-K8) of spectral types.

Does any one known if there are scientific papers written on habitability across the range of stellar spectral types?


Last edited by forest on 16th February 2011, 1:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 14th February 2011, 3:15 pm

There's been quite a bit of work on the habitability of planets around M dwarfs, inspired by the recent interest in them for their ease of detectability compared to other stellar masses.

The tidal locking and flaring tend not to be a significant problem for a planet with a decent atmosphere, especially with a decent magnetic field.

Evolution over Time of Magentic Dynamo Driven UV & X-ray Emissions of dG-M Stars and Effects on Hosted Planets
Atmospheric mass loss by stellar wind from planets around main sequence M stars
The Effect of a Strong Stellar Flare on the Atmospheric Chemistry of an Earth-like Planet Orbiting an M dwarf
Habitability of Planets Orbiting Cool Stars


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Re: Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

Post by Lazarus on 14th February 2011, 3:19 pm

Small width of the habitable zone around M dwarfs is probably not an issue: there are already several known examples with planets in the HZ, and 1-2 examples where there are two planets in the HZ (GJ 876 and GJ 581 if planet g exists). Logarithmic scale is probably more important than absolute.
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Re: Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

Post by Baltazar on 19th December 2011, 9:51 pm

forest wrote:The Sun is a G2 dwarf and is the only star known to host a habitable Earth-like planet. However, what I am wondering is what is the range of stellar spectral types around which planets akin to our might dwell? Obviously, if you head in the direction of the bigger stars, then the relatively short stellar lifetimes cut into the time available for lifeforms to evolves, whereas if you head in the direction of smaller stars (e.g. M dwarfs), then issues like tidal-locking, smaller habitable zone, and intense solar flarings all become problems to contend with. Here is my speculation: The range of stellar spectral types that may host habitable Earth-like planets is between spectral type F2 and K6. The late G and early K stars probably host the majority of habitable planets of all of the stars in this subset (F2-K8) of spectral types.

Does any one known if there are scientific papers written on habitability across the range of stellar spectral types?

There was a recent paper suggesting that a planet would be perfectly stable and lasting in the presence of a white dwarf as a host star. The preferred distance suggested being 1 AU, about the same distance the Earth is from the sun.

Different figures of AU for hotter white dwarfs, but still a habitable planet is possible. Given it survived the shedding of the layers of its sun. But then again, the paper suggested these white dwarfs could very well last 5 to 6 billion years before they cool off significantly to leave the world unhabitable. So there is time for the creation of a subsequent planet out of the debris of material left behind in the shedding process.

I guess you could add D-class stars as potential hosts too, to your list.
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Re: Stellar Spectral Type vs Planetary Habitability

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