Research Frontiers: Astrophysics
This event is now over.
This Research Frontiers is out of this world, (other worlds specifically) with Dr Subhanjoy Mohanty from the Astrophysics Group.
Snacks & Drinks as usual.
Talk title: Habitability of Terrestrial-Mass Planets around Red Dwarfs
The ubiquity of red dwarfs, combined with the relative ease of detecting terrestrial-mass planets around them, has made them prime targets for finding and characterizing planets in the "Habitable Zone" (HZ). However, it also appears that terrestrial-mass exoplanets are often born with voluminous H/He envelopes. If these planets retain such envelopes over Gyr time-scales, they will not actually be habitable, due to the greenhouse effect. Given the strong X-ray/UV fluxes of red dwarfs, we study whether sufficient envelope mass can be photoevaporated away for these planets to become habitable. We show that if a planet is born with such a thick atmosphere, only planets with very low masses (< Venus-mass) may eventually become habitable around red dwarfs. I will discuss the general implications of these results for habitability, and for the search for habitable planets to be undertaken by upcoming space missions such as TESS, CHEOPS and JWST.