2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

Habitable Zones around Low-Mass Stars
Tyler Gardner
Dr. Vayujeet Gokhale, Faculty Mentor

In this talk we explore the possibility of habitable Earth-like planets existing around nearby low-mass stars. Low-mass stars are by far the most abundant type in our Galaxy, so an understanding of their habitable zones is crucial. In order to determine the likelihood of a habitable planet existing within the stellar neighborhood we use a 1D climate model to calculate habitable zone widths around nearby low-mass stars. We also estimate the snow line radii around these stars, which we claim is the region beyond which no terrestrial planets will form. The ratio of these widths leads to a probability for the existence of a transiting habitable zone planet within 5 parsecs. Planets in the habitable zone of low-mass stars are expected to be tidally locked, which could make them inhospitable for life. We present the ratio of the habitable zones around low-mass stars that is tidally locked at different ages.

Keywords: Habitable Zones, Astrobiology, Exoplanets, Tidal Locking, Low-Mass Stars

Topic(s):Astronomy
Astrobiology
Physics-Astronomy

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: -3
Location: MG 1096
Time: 3:00

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