# In-Class Question 1) Do you think that there are planets outside the solar which would be habitable for human life?

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1 The Habitability of Worlds Lecture 31 NASA: The Visible Earth In-Class Question 1) Do you think that there are planets outside the solar which would be habitable for human life? a) 1 (yes, definitely) b) 2 c) 3 (maybe) d) 4 e) 5 (no, definitely)

2 Lecture Topics The question of life. The balance of powers. Why is the Earth the temperature it is? Ecospheres and Habitable Zones. The Greenhouse Effect Influence of the stellar spectrum. The lifetimes of stars The solar system from afar 3 Does life exist elsewhere? How can we find out about Other planetary systems Planets like earth Other intelligent species If other civilizations exist can we communicate with them? travel there?

3 What kind of life? We are relegated to discussing life as we know it. Carbon-based life? For every 200 atoms in your body H: 126, O: 51, C: 19, N: 4, all other elements: 1 That is, physical conditions somewhat similar to earth. There could be life on Jupiter and we would never know it! 5 What kind of star? Do we need a star like our sun? Issues Temperature of the planet Spectrum of the radiation from the star Lifetime of the star

4 Temperature Temperature is the main quantity which can influence the feasibility of life. Too hot water is not liquid Too cold water is frozen (chemical reactions slow) We d like it just right Temperature is governed by distance from the planet to the star thickness of the planet s atmosphere 7 What keeps the earth warm? The power received from the Sun is balanced by emission by the Earth. Light from Sun

5 Power Received The power absorbed by the Earth is L 2 L Pa R (1 A) 2 earth 2 4 d d where L d R earth A = luminosity of the Sun = Sun-Earth distance = radius of Earth = albedo (fraction of light reflected) This is an application of the inverse square law! 9 Power Emitted The power emitted by the Earth is P e RearthTe 4 T e where R earth = radius of Earth T e = temperature of Earth = infrared emissivity ~ 1.0 This is the Stefan-Boltzmann Law! with a correction factor because Earth does not quite emit like a black body

6 A Balance of Powers In equilibrium, the absorbed and emitted power are equal L 2 2 Pa P e R (1 ) 4 2 earth A Re Te 4 d simplifying L 4 (1 A) 4T 2 e 4 d 4 L (1 A) 4 L T e T 2 e 2 16 d d 4 11 Moving Earth Thus we have 4 L T e 2 d L T e d The temperature of the Earth is ~ 300 K. If we quadrupled our distance from the Sun, then T = 150 K (-120 C) This is almost the distance of Jupiter The oceans would be frozen! 1/ 4 1/

7 Changing the Sun The star Vega is 3 times as massive as the Sun and 58 times more luminous, M = 3 M sun, L = 58 L sun If we place a planet 1 AU from Vega, then T = (58) 1/4 T e = 2.7 T e = 810 K No oceans, no people! Too hot!!! 13 Moving further away We get back to the temperature of the earth if the planet is moved 8 times further away!! Since T e L 14 / sun 12 / L 14 / Vega 12 / d d earth planet d ( L / L ) 12 / d planet Vega sun earth

8 10000 T vs. Distance & Luminosity Temperature (K) Earth around Sun L 0.1 L 0.01 L 100 L 10 L To get same T for earth-like planet around Vega Region where we would have earth-like temperatures Distance (AU) The balance of powers represented in graphical form (scaled to T = 295 K at 1 AU from Sun). 15 Habitable zones and Ecospheres The habitable zone is the range of distances around a star over which comfortable temperatures are possible. The is also called the Ecosphere. Let us choose this range to be where water is liquid. Inside this zone, water boils. Outside this zone, water freezes

9 The Ecosphere The distance of the habitable zone from the star will vary depending on the type of star. More luminous stars the habitable zone is further away than the Sun s Less luminous stars the habitable zone is closer than the Sun s 17 Sample Ecospheres More luminous stars have a large habitable zone. G-type star F-type star M-type Star

10 10 Ecospheres for Stars Stellar Mass (M sun ) 1 Water boils 1 M sun 3 M sun Water freezes Distance from Star (AU) 19 Ecosphere (cont d) This criterion is not strict. Venus at 0.72 AU is within the Sun s ecosphere! But its surface temperature is 745 K! A runaway greenhouse effect. The Earth is helped by a mild greenhouse effect!

11 The Greenhouse Effect Photons (blue) from the sun penetrate the glass. Infrared photons (red) are trapped inside by the glass. So the greenhouse heats up. 21 Greenhouse Effect on Earth Atmosphere Earth Photons from the sun reach the surface of the earth. Carbon dioxide prevents infrared photons from radiating energy to space. The Earth can t cool. Too much CO 2 will cause the earth to get too hot

12 Temperature is not everything. More luminous stars have a larger habitable zone, however they will emit a lot of UV radiation! The peak of the spectrum is given by Wien s Law peak m 2900 T 23 Comparing some stars Star Type T (K) peak Sun G2 5, m Vega A0 10, m Barnard s M5 2, m - Vega would give you a bad sunburn! - Barnard s star could not support photosynthesis

13 The Spectrum of the Star If the star is too hot it will emit lots of UV photons (high energy!) Life will be damaged If the star is too cool, it will emit mostly infrared photons (low energy!) Photosynthesis not possible Chemical reactions not helped by the star 25 In-Class Question 1) The range of distances from a star over which water could be liquid is called: a) The buffer zone b) The habitable zone c) The ecosphere d) b and c e) a and b

14 In-Class Question 1) The range of distances from a star over which water could be liquid is called: a) The buffer zone b) The habitable zone c) The ecosphere d) b and c e) a and b 2) What is the significance of the balance of powers? a) It assures countries won t destroy one another b) It determine where planets are formed c) It determines the temperature of a planet d) It keeps planets from falling into the Sun e) No significance, you made it up 27 The Lifetime of Stars Stars must live long enough for life to evolve. Star Mass Lifetime (M sun ) (10 9 yrs) A F G K

15 Lifetimes There is evidence that (simple) life existed on Earth 3.5 billion years ago! O, B, and A type stars do not survive long enough for life to evolve. Only F, G, K and M stars survive long enough. 29 Where to look for life To find life as we know it: Look around F, G and K stars. They have relatively long lives, put out photons with right energy, and have moderately large ecospheres

16 The solar system from afar. Cen, a nearby star ( 1.3 pc = 4.3 lyr ) G2 V star, m v = 0.0 How would the solar system appear if it were there? Planet Separation m v Factor fainter from Cen than Cen Earth x 10 9 Jupiter x How do we find other planets? Four Possible Methods Direct observation Reflected light from star Intrinsic infrared radiation Search for brightness variations Measure wiggles on the sky Doppler spectroscopy

17 Analogy to binary stars These techniques are similar to those used for binary stars. Search Technique Direct observation Brightness variations Wiggle on the sky Doppler shifts Binary Type Visual Eclipsing Visual Spectroscopic

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