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2014MNRAS.443..260J - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 443, 260-274 (2014/September-1)

Habitable zones with stable orbits for planets around binary systems.


Abstract (from CDS):

A general formulation to compute habitable zones around binary stars is presented. A habitable zone in this context must satisfy two separate conditions: a radiative one and one of dynamical stability. For the case of single stars, the usual concept of circumstellar habitable zone is based on the radiative condition only, as the dynamical stability condition is taken for granted (assuming minimal perturbation from other planets). For the radiative condition, we extend the simple formulation of the circumstellar habitable zone for single stars, to the case of eccentric stellar binary systems, where two sources of luminosity at different orbital phases contribute to the irradiance of their planetary circumstellar and circumbinary regions. Our approach considers binaries with eccentric orbits and guarantees that orbits in the computed habitable zone remain within it at all orbital phases. For the dynamical stability condition, we use the approach of invariant loops developed by Pichardo et al. to find regions of stable, non-intersecting orbits, which is a robust method to find stable regions in binary stars, as it is based in the existence of integrals of motion. We apply the combined criteria to calculate habitable zones for 64 binary stars in the solar neighbourhood with known orbital parameters, including some with discovered planets. Formulae and interpolating tables are provided, so the reader can compute the boundaries of the habitable zones for an arbitrary binary system, using the stellar flux limits they prefer. Together with the formulae provided for stable zones, these allow the computation of both regions of stability and habitability around any binary stellar system. We found 56 per cent of the cases we consider can satisfy both restrictions, this is a very important constriction to binary systems. Nevertheless, we conclude that these systems where a dynamical and radiative safe zone exists, must be considered strong candidates in the search for habitable planets.

Abstract Copyright: © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014)

Journal keyword(s): planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability - planets and satellites: general - binaries: general - planetary systems

Simbad objects: 70

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