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Prospects for Extrasolar ‘Earths’ in Habitable Zones

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2005
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Astrophysics, abstract

From: David R. Underwood [view email]
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2005 10:40:22 GMT (96kb)

Prospects for Extrasolar "Earths" in Habitable Zones

B.W. Jones,
D.R. Underwood,
P.N. Sleep

Comments: 7 pages, 2 figures

Journal-ref: Astrophys.J. 622 (2005) 1091-1101

We have shown that Earth-mass planets could survive in variously restricted
regions of the habitable zones (HZs) of most of a sample of nine of the 102
main-sequence exoplanetary systems confirmed by 19 November 2003. In a
preliminary extrapolation of our results to the other systems, we estimate that
roughly a half of these systems could have had an Earth-mass planet confined to
the HZ for at least the most recent 1000 Ma. The HZ migrates outwards during
the main-sequence lifetime, and so this proportion varies with stellar age.
About two thirds of the systems could have such a planet confined to the HZ for
at least 1000 Ma at sometime during the main-sequence lifetime. Clearly, these
systems should be high on the target list for exploration for terrestrial
planets. We have reached this conclusion by launching putative Earth-mass
planets in various orbits and following their fate with mixed-variable
symplectic and hybrid integrators. Whether the Earth-mass planets could form in
the HZs of the exoplanetary systems is an urgent question that needs further

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