Seminar: Aomawa Shields [UC Irvine/UCLA/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]
Ice, Light, and Company: Radiative and Gravitational Effects on the Habitability of Planets Orbiting Low-mass Stars
Nov 10, 2016 11:00 AM to Nov 10, 2016 12:00 PM at Building 8 - Room 241
The discovery of multiple potentially habitable planets orbiting low-mass stars signals a major planetary population that may be the primary environment explored in the search for life beyond the Solar System. However, many factors and processes can affect planetary climate and habitability, including the unique interaction between the spectral energy distribution of the host star and the atmospheres and surfaces of orbiting planets. Additionally, as lower-mass stars often host multiple rocky planets, gravitational interactions among planets can have significant effects on climate and habitability over long timescales. To identify habitable worlds beyond our Solar System, it is important to understand how both orbital, surface, and atmospheric properties affect the climate of exoplanets, and how these climatic effects might change for different stellar and planetary environments. I will share results from work performed using a hierarchy of models to simulate planets orbiting stars of different spectral types and with varied orbital architectures, and discuss the implications of these results for planetary climate and habitability.