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Title: ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS

Abstract

One of the most fundamental topics of exobiology concerns the identification of stars with environments consistent with life. Although it is believed that most types of main-sequence stars might be able to support life, particularly extremophiles, special requirements appear to be necessary for the development and sustainability of advanced life forms. From our study, orange main-sequence stars, ranging from spectral type late-G to mid-K (with a maximum at early K), are most promising. Our analysis considers a variety of aspects, including (1) the frequency of the various types of stars, (2) the speed of stellar evolution in their lifetimes, (3) the size of the stellar climatological habitable zones (CLI-HZs), (4) the strengths and persistence of their magnetic-dynamo-generated X-ray–UV emissions, and (5) the frequency and severity of flares, including superflares; both (4) and (5) greatly reduce the suitability of red dwarfs to host life-bearing planets. The various phenomena show pronounced dependencies on the stellar key parameters such as effective temperature and mass, permitting the assessment of the astrobiological significance of various types of stars. Thus, we developed a “Habitable-Planetary-Real-Estate Parameter” (HabPREP) that provides a measure for stars that are most suitable for planets with life. Early K stars are found tomore » have the highest HabPREP values, indicating that they may be “Goldilocks” stars for life-hosting planets. Red dwarfs are numerous, with long lifetimes, but their narrow CLI-HZs and hazards from magnetic activity make them less suitable for hosting exolife. Moreover, we provide X-ray–far-UV irradiances for G0 V–M5 V stars over a wide range of ages.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Department of Physics, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019 (United States)
  2. Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22679510
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 827; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DWARF STARS; EMISSION; HAZARDS; LIFETIME; LUMINOSITY; MAIN SEQUENCE STARS; MASS; RADIANT FLUX DENSITY; SATELLITES; STAR EVOLUTION; SUSTAINABILITY; VELOCITY; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Cuntz, M., and Guinan, E. F., E-mail: cuntz@uta.edu, E-mail: edward.guinan@villanova.edu. ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/827/1/79.
Cuntz, M., & Guinan, E. F., E-mail: cuntz@uta.edu, E-mail: edward.guinan@villanova.edu. ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS. United States. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/827/1/79.
Cuntz, M., and Guinan, E. F., E-mail: cuntz@uta.edu, E-mail: edward.guinan@villanova.edu. Wed . "ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS". United States. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/827/1/79.
@article{osti_22679510,
title = {ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS},
author = {Cuntz, M. and Guinan, E. F., E-mail: cuntz@uta.edu, E-mail: edward.guinan@villanova.edu},
abstractNote = {One of the most fundamental topics of exobiology concerns the identification of stars with environments consistent with life. Although it is believed that most types of main-sequence stars might be able to support life, particularly extremophiles, special requirements appear to be necessary for the development and sustainability of advanced life forms. From our study, orange main-sequence stars, ranging from spectral type late-G to mid-K (with a maximum at early K), are most promising. Our analysis considers a variety of aspects, including (1) the frequency of the various types of stars, (2) the speed of stellar evolution in their lifetimes, (3) the size of the stellar climatological habitable zones (CLI-HZs), (4) the strengths and persistence of their magnetic-dynamo-generated X-ray–UV emissions, and (5) the frequency and severity of flares, including superflares; both (4) and (5) greatly reduce the suitability of red dwarfs to host life-bearing planets. The various phenomena show pronounced dependencies on the stellar key parameters such as effective temperature and mass, permitting the assessment of the astrobiological significance of various types of stars. Thus, we developed a “Habitable-Planetary-Real-Estate Parameter” (HabPREP) that provides a measure for stars that are most suitable for planets with life. Early K stars are found to have the highest HabPREP values, indicating that they may be “Goldilocks” stars for life-hosting planets. Red dwarfs are numerous, with long lifetimes, but their narrow CLI-HZs and hazards from magnetic activity make them less suitable for hosting exolife. Moreover, we provide X-ray–far-UV irradiances for G0 V–M5 V stars over a wide range of ages.},
doi = {10.3847/0004-637X/827/1/79},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 1,
volume = 827,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {8}
}