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Proceedings Paper

Can terrestrial planets exist in the habitable zones of known exoplanetary systems?
Author(s): Barrie W. Jones; P. Nick Sleep
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Paper Abstract

The habitable zone (HZ) is defined as the range of distances from a star within which water at the surface of a terrestrial planet would be in the liquid phase. We have investigated whether terrestrial planets could exit in the HZs of known exoplanetary systems long enough for life to have emerged and to have evolved. Four contrasting systems in which giant planets have been detected have been examined, and HZs have been defined for each system using conservative definitions for the HZ boundaries. Mixed- variable sympletic numerical integration has ben used to investigate the orbits of putative terrestrial planets launched within the HZ of each system. In Rho CrB the HZ is exterior to the giant, and in 47 UMa it is interior. We have shown that in each of these two systems terrestrial planets could have orbits with semimajor axes that remain confined to the HZ for biologically significant lengths of time. We have also shown that the Gliese 876 and Ups And systems are very unlikely to have such orbits.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 August 2001
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4273, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in the Optical Spectrum III, (3 August 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.435382
Show Author Affiliations
Barrie W. Jones, Open Univ. (United Kingdom)
P. Nick Sleep, Open Univ. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4273:
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in the Optical Spectrum III
Stuart A. Kingsley; Ragbir Bhathal, Editor(s)

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