Stable habitable zones of single Jovian planet systems

19 Jun 2017  ·  Agnew Matthew T., Maddison Sarah T., Thilliez Elodie, Horner Jonathan ·

With continued improvement in telescope sensitivity and observational techniques, the search for rocky planets in stellar habitable zones is entering an exciting era. With so many exoplanetary systems available for follow-up observations to find potentially habitable planets, one needs to prioritise the ever-growing list of candidates... We aim to determine which of the known planetary systems are dynamically capable of hosting rocky planets in their habitable zones, with the goal of helping to focus future planet search programs. We perform an extensive suite of numerical simulations to identify regions in the habitable zones of single Jovian planet systems where Earth mass planets could maintain stable orbits, specifically focusing on the systems in the Catalog of Earth-like Exoplanet Survey Targets (CELESTA). We find that small, Earth-mass planets can maintain stable orbits in cases where the habitable zone is largely, or partially, unperturbed by a nearby Jovian, and that mutual gravitational interactions and resonant mechanisms are capable of producing stable orbits even in habitable zones that are significantly or completely disrupted by a Jovian. Our results yield a list of 13 single Jovian planet systems in CELESTA that are not only capable of supporting an Earth-mass planet on stable orbits in their habitable zone, but for which we are also able to constrain the orbits of the Earth-mass planet such that the induced radial velocity signals would be detectable with next generation instruments. read more

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics